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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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Wednesday, February 19, 2003


The Unlikely Rise of Howard Dean

posted by Frances at Wednesday, February 19, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Howard Dean gets a glowing profile on New York The writer, Meryl Gordon, focuses much of her attention of Dean as a person and, in doing so, puts his political stances into a personal context.

For better or worse, presidential candidates are judged on their family backgrounds and they way they’ve lived their lives before they jumped into the race. They are required to be both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. They have to be simultaneously Patrician and “just folks”—those of you who remember the Al Gore “he went to St. Alban’s and lived in a hotel” meme from 2000 know what I’m talking about here.

What we are shown of Dean’s life in this article bodes well for his ability to run as an above average, average guy. The son of Park Avenue blue-bloods, he’s not going to be able to run on a “rags to riches story.” However, there’s an appeal to a person who walked away from “a Park Avenue apartment serenely decorated with small African sculptures and modernist paintings and prints” to “a much-lived-in house, with an Oriental rug, a white couch and wing chair that need reupholstering, a chess set, and framed pictures on every flat surface.”

Is any of this as important as his stands on foreign policy or domestic issue? No, but it will be treated as such by the wags of the media. It’s better to be prepared, and this article is a good start in introducing the country to the private side of a compelling candidate.

(Thanks to Jason Rothstein for the catch!)


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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.