I have defended Howard Dean's 50-state strategy, even when the potential White House chief of staff in an Obama administration — Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) — used to yell (literally) at him about it.

At the time, 2005-2006, Dean was pushing to spread Democratic National Committee resources all around the country, to red states as well as purple, to grow organizations and build registration and support to build a national party. To be fair, Emanuel was running what we now know was a brilliant 2006 midterm congressional campaign for the Democrats and needed every dollar he could find to push his candidates past the finish line in numerous Republican districts. The Democrats took back the Congress, and Emanuel remains one of the most valuable commodities in the Democratic Party.

But, as I have written before, Dean was right — and last week Markos Moulitsas said it better than I have. In the Daily Kos he wrote that "politics is all about a little prescience and a little luck. Dean had both. He had the wisdom to know Democrats would win in a lot of places if they bothered to show up and make an argument. The lucky part: The public has turned on the Republican Party."

In the months and years to come, the GOP should take this advice and strengthen its hold, particularly with young people, in urban, blue areas around the country. There may not be as much interest in social and cultural issues, but the Republican Party can find traction there on a message of limited government, limited taxation, limited spending and limited foreign entanglements.

Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama says he voted by mail: 'It's not as tough as a lot of folks think' Clean energy opportunities in a time of crisis MSNBC host cuts off interview with Trump campaign spokesman after clash on alleged voter fraud MORE has followed Dean's model, and after having built 19 field offices in Montana — where polls showed him nearly this entire campaign with absolutely no hope — he is now within striking distance of John McCain in that red state. The Republican National Committee is now scrambling to advertise there for the first time.

Obama may not win, but as I wrote in my column this week, I think we can all agree he has run a remarkable campaign.

Republicans, win or lose on Tuesday, should study up on his campaign model for 2012.


MCCAIN IS GAINING IN GEORGIA, NORTH CAROLINA AND INDIANA; CAN HE FIGHT BACK IN PENNSYLVANIA, FLORIDA AND OHIO? Join us next Thursday, Nov. 6, for the 2008 election post-mortem on Ask A.B. Send your questions and comments to my weekly video Q & A at askab@thehill.com. Thank you.