Sunday, February 15, 2004
Howard Dean's playhouse.
How counterintuitive of the Howard Dean campaign to open an official campaign headquarters in the heart of Central Square this weekend. I popped in for a minute yesterday afternoon on my way to buy some fancy Valentine's Day wrapping paper at Pearl Art & Craft. The Cambridge office is a hive of just-out-of-college activity and has all the marks of an actual campaign office, but since Howard Dean can't possibly expect to win any longer, it strikes me that he and his supporters have struck a peculiar deal: So long as people send money to Dean, he'll rent playhouses for them.
It's not as absurd as it might seem, since the longer the Deaniacs believe they have a shot, the less likely Nader will jump into the race. Dean will continue sponsoring his civics course for the Radiohead bloc, which I heartily endorse. (Less apocalypse, more get-out-the-vote!) And since Dean's most avid supporters seem hard to channel into mainstream politics, giving them a place to run and run and run until they finally run out of breath makes a lot of sense. Dean won't abandon them; they won't abandon him; and when the majority of voters finish ignoring them, they'll feel they gave it their best shot. Hopefully, when the playhouses finally close, the Deaniacs will help the rest of us knock Bush out of office using the bat the rest of the Democratic Party selects. Who knows? Maybe they will generate a more enduring political movement in the process.
Update: In comments below, I'm told that the Cambridge headquarters is an independent project of Massachusetts volunteers and has no official relationship to the campaign. Can you rent office space to campaign for a candidate with your own funds without it constituting a pretty sizable campaign contribution? Or without violating campaign finance laws? I'm actually asking, because I have no idea. As for a few of the commenters other concerns, I'll reply in the comments.
Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 15 February 2004 at 2:52 PM