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Dems Challenged to Strenghten Party for Long Haul

In today's WaPo, columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr.'s "A Gap in Their Armor" is a meditation on the importance of party that should be read by all Democrats. We'll quote briefly here and urge progressives to read the whole piece.

...Dean and Emanuel are both struggling against the same overlapping realities: Democrats have chronically underinvested in building state parties. Wealthy donors who bankrolled grass-roots organizing in the 2004 presidential campaign have largely gone to the sidelines this year. And Republican-oriented interest groups are, on the whole, better financed and disciplined than their Democratic counterparts.

...There is a lesson here about campaign finance reform and those who pretend that Democrats can rely on a handful of wealthy donors when crunch time comes. There is also a lesson about how a political party needs to see itself -- and be seen by those who support it -- as a long-term operation, not simply as a label of convenience at election time.

There's more In Dionne's challenge, and taking it seriously could strengthen Democrats in '08 --- and beyond.