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Wednesday, March 19, 2003


Big news day for Dean

posted by Scott at Wednesday, March 19, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The Howard Dean news has been coming fast and furious today, mostly in response to his stellar statement in response to the Bush announcement on Iraq. His comments have sparked a wildfire of discussion, some positive, and some anything but.

So let's break down the news in order.

1. The New York Times. Adam Nagourey's article finds the Democratic Party scrambling to find a coherent message on Operation: Iraqi Freedom (hey, I didn't name it).

Officials in both parties say the image of high-profile Democrats challenging President Bush's war policy right up through his address to the nation on Monday — and, in fact, beyond the speech, as was clear here today — could reinforce a perception that Republicans are better suited to deal with threats from abroad.

One rival strategist was quoted as saying, "If Howard Dean didn't exist, Karl Rove would have to invent him." Ouch!

However, Nagourney completely misrepresents his statement, claiming Dean "declared he would continue his attacks, war or no war." The following was Dean's actual comment, hardly a promise of continued attacks: ensure that our post-war policies are constructive and humane, based on enduring principles of peace and justice, concerned Americans should continue to speak out; and I intend to do so.

2. ABC's The Note. Thank goodness for balance. The Note quotes an unnamed pro-war Democratic candidate's advisor as actually defending Dean, saying that

Lots of Americans are sympathetic to the view that this war is a questionable enterprise. What I believe is a bigger threat to Democrats in the general election are candidates that are viewed as being wishy-washy on the war. Equivocation on security issues is the real vulnerability for Democrats.

3. The Washington Post. Also noted by The Note, Mark Leibovich's article in the Post plays up Dean as "the antiwar candidate," which the author acknowledges makes the candidate "grimace."

More importantly, the article highlights that Dean is the candidate with the most momentum and the most passionate support. One such supporter is quoted as saying, "I saw him on C-SPAN and he had me jumping up and down in my living room." My thoughts exactly.

4. The American Prospect. has a web-only candidate-by-candidate overview of the California Democratic Party State Convention. The Dean profile is extremely flattering, calling him "very much for real" and noting that he "repeatedly brought the delegates to their feet." This is also the first time I'd seen mention of Dean's "I want my country back!" chorus which closed his Sacramento speech. (Very powerful stuff for those of you who didn't catch it. I strongly encourage you do watch the video at


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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.