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Tuesday, March 11, 2003


Dean's List

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, March 11, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Jerome has already mentioned this link, but I've been intending to blog it as a full entry. This is a piece by The New Republic's Ryan Lizza, who comes across as surprisingly unaware of Dean's positions given that TNR helped launch Dean's campaign with their piece, in .

Did you know, for instance, that Dean favors a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, the early-'90s fixation of Ross Perot and the Contract with America? I didn't. In addition to flirting with raising the retirement age for Social Security, Dean also wants to do something along the lines of what Clinton proposed in the late '90s for the program: allowing the government to invest funds from Social Security in private equities. (In another forum recently, Dean attacked Bush's Social Security plan essentially from the right, arguing that it would cost the government in the long run because retirees who lost their pensions thanks to their own bad decisions would undoubtedly demand a bailout from Uncle Sam.) For good measure, when asked today whether he agrees with NARAL's demand that the Senate filibuster any Supreme Court nominee who "does not affirm that the Constitution protects a woman's right to choose," Dean flatly said, "No."

On the war Dean finally spelled out a clear and intellectually honest position that doesn't always come across when he's talking to activists: Unless Iraq has nukes or is about to get them, Dean isn't convinced Saddam poses an imminent threat to the United States. And Dean argues that unless Iraq poses an imminent threat to the United States, we should act against the country only through the United Nations. Implicit in this position is that Dean would support invading Iraq unilaterally if he was convinced Saddam was about to get the bomb, and multilaterally if the United States somehow won a vote without a veto this week at the United Nations. Perhaps he arrived at this position because he knows neither of those war-triggering events is likely. But, regardless, Dean's not the pro-appeasement pacifist recently caricatured by people like Tom DeLay.

These two paragraphs are notable in that they encapsulate Dean's candidacy. And underlines his appeal, which is apparent even to those on the right - as seen by this comment on NRO's The Corner on Sunday (3/9/03):

DEAN SUNDAY [Stanley Kurtz]
I just saw Vermont Governor Howard Dean on Face the Nation, and he was superb. Was his position on the war incoherent? Sure. Dean won’t attack Saddam until Iraq’s at the point where North Korea is now. That’s absurd. And Dean thinks deterrence will work on Saddam in the way that it worked with the Soviet Union. That’s ignorant. (Read Kenneth Pollack.) And Dean wants to build up the U.N., even as its refusal to implement its own resolutions turns the institution into a joke. Nonetheless, Dean gave a masterful performance. He parried Russert’s jabs expertly. He came through as a real person, not an artificial persona. And he looked an acted presidential. Dean is breaking out, and that means the Democrats are in big trouble. The face of their party may soon be the dovish man who signed a civil unions bill in a state more liberal than Massachusetts.
Posted at 12:39 PM

Pollack, btw, has been ably refuted by Jim Henley. It's a curious contortion to suggest that Dean's broad appeal is somehow a danger to Democrats, but GOP infallibility is an a priori axiom at NRO. Dean is a real threat, because he has cross-party appeal. One of the readers on the ZonkBoard put it best, saying that Dean has been described as a "Rockefeller Republican" - but in this day and age, we should use the synonym, "Dean Democrat". I hope this phrase catches on - Meetup organizers, take note!


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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.