THE BLOG
06/17/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

It's Better to Lose an Election Than to Lose the Party II

Senator Obama recognizing the accuracy of the above statement, moved in on the Democratic National Committee yesterday changing its rules so the committee will no longer accept donations from federal lobbyists or political action committees. He's keeping Howard Dean on as party chairman, but is sending in his own operatives to oversee party operations.

That's much the same formula that John Kerrey adopted in 2004 when he kept on Terry McAuliffe but left him with no powers and at his own guise run the 2004 campaign. It's likely that Dean will have more to say about the campaign than McAuliffe did, but in the real world it will still be Obama campaign manger David Axelrod pulling the levers on the party machinery.

Politics is a rough business, and "to the victor belongs the spoils" has been its motto since 1832 during Andrew Jackson's first presidential term. Jackson turned the "patronage system" into an art form, placing his supporters in positions of power throughout his administration. Obama has now been granted control of the Democratic Party by its primary voters and he has exercised it swiftly.

If Obama wins, the entire Democratic leadership may be shaken up. During the nominating process, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seemed to lean towards Obama. Their continuing influence will largely be determined by Obama's regard for them, have they proved their loyalty to him.

As to the Democratic National Committee, Axelrod and company had better do a better job for Barrack than John Kerrey's folk did for him. Otherwise the Democratic Party is in for another tough election.

For better or worse, Obama's party now and much will depend on the qualifications of the "advisers" that he has put in place. They had political smarts to pull one rabbit out of a hat, can they do it again?