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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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Friday, February 21, 2003


Candidates prostrate before the Party Elders

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 21, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Today was the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting, where four of the Presidential candidates for the Dem. nomination made their case to the party leaders. The candidates who attended were Gephardt, Lieberman, Moseley-Braun and Dean. Kerry was also scheduled to appear, but did not make it due to recovery from his recent surgery. Edwards, Sharpton, and Kucinich will also make an appearance later this weekend. The candidates made brief speeches, and as usual Howard came off quite well:

In brief talks to the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting, Rep. Richard Gephardt, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean agreed Bush had been disastrous for the economy and for relations with foreign allies.

But Dean, an outspoken opponent of a potential Iraqi war, opened his speech by asking why Democrats have been so reluctant to challenge Bush on the war, tax cuts and health care policy.

"What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the president's unilateral attack on Iraq?" asked Dean, who also questioned why Democrats have not asked tougher questions on the need for tax cuts or fought harder for universal health care.

"I am Howard Dean and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," Dean said to loud cheers, adding that if the party wanted to attract young people and new voters "we had better stand for something."

Mosely-Braun also got in a great soundbite, saying in reference to Bush's supposed foreign policy advantage, "Duct tape is no substitute for diplomacy." I think underestimating her is a bad idea for Dean, and suddenly I wonder if she would be interested in a VEEP position...

The Washington Post has an article on the meeting as well, with a cogent summary of each candidates' chances and outlook. The article notes that this meeting is extremely important:

Twelve years ago, Bill Clinton lit up a similar gathering in Chicago with a performance that helped propel him to the front of the Democratic ranks. The current candidates know that a strong showing before the Democratic National Committee (DNC) today and Saturday could boost their fundraising, build activist support and attract endorsements that will lend heft to their campaigns.

In addition, Sen. Harkin is reveling in his kingmaker role regarding the upcoming Iowa caucuses, having arranged the schedule for the various "town meeting" opportunities for the candidates:

North Carolina Sen. John Edwards will make the first appearance in April in Polk County, the state's largest. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's representative drew June in Cerro Gordo County in northern Iowa. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will appear in Davenport in May. Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt will be in Dubuque in July. The Rev. Al Sharpton will be in Sioux City in August, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman will be in Cedar Rapids in September.

In Iowa, Dean will face a serious challenge from Gephardt, whose candidacy has been met with yawns, but should not be underestimated.


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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.