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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, October 13, 2002


Democrats' provocative dark horse

posted by Jerome at Sunday, October 13, 2002 permalink View blog reactions
Howard Dean denounces Bush, makes long-shot bid for 2004 nomination
"I’m tired of my party being bullied by the right wing," says Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

This is a very detailed article with a lot of quotes from Dean. He comes across as very vocal and determined and focused. It's a major PR boost, and note that it deliberately re-evokes the "dark horse" theme. Parts of the article are excerpted below.

On President Bush:

Self-confident, sometimes impatient, Dean is brusquely dismissive of the man he wants to boot from the White House, George W. Bush.
His open contempt for Bush is in contrast with some other Democratic contenders, such as House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, who stood side by side with Bush at the White House to support his Iraq policy.
“The president is incapable of managing the economy of America,” he contends.

Comparisons to Dukakis:

In his brisk assertiveness, Dean is reminiscent of another governor from New England, Michael Dukakis, the man who won the Democratic nomination in 1988 and then went down to defeat by the first George Bush.
“This election is about competence, not ideology,” Dukakis said during his campaign against Bush. Like Dukakis, Dean presents himself as someone more competent than those running things in administration in Washington now.

Quotes on Republicans:

“I’m tired of my party being bullied by the right wing.”
“This country has been taken over by the ideologues in the Republican Party.”
“The economy is not going to recover until we have a new administration.”
“The Republicans are the most fiscally irresponsible party in the history of this country.”
“The Republicans know nothing about economic prosperity and there has been very little under Republican regimes.”

About the Bush tax cuts:

Dean’s Web site says that “the tax cuts (with some exceptions in the estate and retirement areas) should be repealed.”
But would he also repeal the child tax credit, which Bush’s tax measure will increase from $600 to $1,000 and which benefits most middle class families? “It’s unlikely I would do that, but I’d have to look at the specifics before I’d made any promises,” he said. “The blanket position is that it all ought to be repealed and we’ll look at some stuff on a case-by-case basis.”
Dean acknowledges that more than 70 percent of the federal tax burden is carried by people who earn over $75,000 — and that is fine by him.

Finally, the article makes the obligatory comparisons to Jimmy Carter and Dean's role as underdog, but also opines that his fiscal conservatism/social liberalism will not win him support in states like West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky which Clinton won in 96 but Gore lost in 2000. Dean responds to that critique, however:

Dean disputes this assessment with characteristically crisp arguments.
“Most Democrats are where I am on the issues,” he said. “I advocate health care for every American… expanding the existing system to cover everybody. That’s a huge issue among working-class people both white and black in the South, an area that has a lower rate of health insurance than other parts of the country.”

Characteristically crisp. Competence, not ideology. These are his core strengths.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.