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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, March 14, 2003


Radio Nation interview & more tidbits

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, March 14, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The Nation has an interview with Dean on their radio program, Radio Nation:

In an interview with The Nation's Washington editor David Corn, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, a Democratic presidential candidate, discusses his opposition to war in Iraq, explains his own vision of healthcare reform, praises the NRA, whacks away at Bush and the Democratic Party, and names his favorite rock album.

Here's the direct link (pre-cued to Dean's segment):

 Radio Nation interview

The Nation is also running a full profile of Dean. It's a mixed bag, but on the whole a decent analysis and serves well as a summary of Dean's progress and stance so far. Given how influential TNR is, Dean's status as a top tier candidate will likely enter conventional wisdom as a result of this piece (which is a follow-up to the TNR piece last year that helped launch Dean's candidacy). The piece is particularly good at highlighting Dean's independent positions on various issues:

On many issues, Dean lines up--or ends up--on the left, though occasionally with a twist. Asked about affirmative action, he angrily assails Bush for dishonestly and exploitatively using the word "quotas" in attacking affirmative action programs at the University of Michigan. Yet he also calls for basing affirmative action on "income and class" distinctions as well as race. He believes portions of the USA Patriot Act "overreach," but, he says, "I haven't condemned Congress for passing" the legislation. It's only natural, he explains, that the lawmakers would overreact. The problem is, he explains, that Bush has appointed right-wing judges who will not provide any counterbalance to the excesses of the politicians. Dean maintains he doesn't "believe the war on drugs is a criminal matter; it's a public health matter. To throw users in jail is silly." But he cannot stand state initiatives that seek to legalize medical marijuana. "I hate the idea of legislators and politicians practicing medicine," he says. Should the Feds be busting medical marijuana clubs? "Depends on the circumstances," he says. "In general, no." If he were President, Dean adds, he would force the Food and Drug Administration to evaluate medical marijuana, and he would be prepared to accept its findings. Regarding the Kyoto global warming treaty, he wouldn't sign it as is. He argues that the accord--since "it doesn't require the underdeveloped countries to do anything about greenhouse gases"--would "have the effect of moving the steel industry or other industries that pollute into countries where there are no requirements to improve their situation with greenhouse gasses." He wouldn't dump the treaty, as Bush did. Instead, he would continue to negotiate to make changes. He favors a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But, he says, "I don't think you can pressure the Israelis to do anything until you stop the terror." And he urges more federal spending on fighting global poverty and disease, but won't provide any sense of how much.

Meanwhile over at TNR, there is also a short blurb on Dean in TNR's "etc." section which makes a good point about why Dean looks like a liberal now, though he was considered moderate while governor:

It's not entirely out of keeping that I'm one of the more progressive people in the (presidential) race while still being a moderate at home, because if you believe in a balanced budget, that automatically disqualifies you from being a progressive (in Vermont). And I think at the national level, that's not true.

Dean is right that being considered a moderate in Vermont--which he clearly was--probably puts you somewhere on the left side of the current Democratic presidential field (even if Dean's lefty reputation isn't entirely deserved). But there's more going on here than just that. The more important reason Dean was viewed as a moderate when he was governor but is viewed as a liberal now is that the country as a whole has shifted to the right--at least on certain key issues.

They go on to discuss Dean's fiscal conservatism and point out that "fiscal conservatism" is actually under fire from conservatives, thus making it a liberal position by implication.

apologies to all for the continued mixups with this post - I honestly DO know the diference between TNR and The Nation, though maybe just not this morning. where's my caffeine grog?


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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.