Monday, April 21, 2003
For and Against http://www.matthewyglesias.com/archives/000131.html#000131
Many of us are people who characterize ourselves as third-way liberals, but not in the DLC "third-way-as-conservatism" method, more in the New America Foundation sense. And I see Dean as being the candidate who is coming out to embrace the third-way radical center. He understands the reasons for grassroots democracy more fundamentally than most Greens do, who think that it translates most simply to direct democracy. He understands the Constitutional and Democratic reasons for respecting the rights of states, and also realizes that part of respecting the rights of states involves having the F.G. recognize state's contracts like civil unions. Now, scared Democrats claim that civil unions will derail Dean in the south. Can anyone tell me what state we're going to lose in the South? Florida? Solve that by putting Graham on the ticket if you're so scared. We can't lose the south because we don't win it.
But we can win the West, or, at least, parts of it. Colorado is feasible especially, I believe, with a pro-gun, pro-states, pro-privacy Democrat (in other words, a Democrat who can tap the Libertarian streak that will be ready to bolt over USA PATRIOT). Because the West, fundamentally, agrees with the Dems on a lot of issues. I really would not be surprised to see Western Representatives and Senators start moving into Dean's camp. We need someone like him at the top of the ticket. In Montana, it would do wonders for us and I'm spreading that word as much as I can.
. I don't, however, want Dean to win the primary. The reason, quite simply, is that I don't see how he can beat Bush. It's almost as if he came in at the wrong time. Dean is a master of the lock-and-load, populist campaign. He would have annihilated Bush 1. Dean, however, has no credibility on foreign policy or national defense. None, zero, nada. He has no chance when the debate moves into that arena. He was against going into iraq which, though a viable position before we went in, will be something that Rove could use like a sledgehammer. "Tell me Governor Dean, looking back on the liberation of Iraq and the obvious joy and benefit it had for the Iraqi people, why were you so vocal in opposition and would you change your stance today?" It's not that Dean was necessarily wrong, and it's not that he couldn't competently answer that question, it's simply that unless Iraq descends into anarchy and we go after Syrian and Iran, Dean will be viewed as having made the wrong choice in a truly crucial moment. And to go beyond that, he has no way to bolster his standing, no credibility on protecting the populace from Al-Quaeda and other threats, no ability to project the image of a strong and confident hand at international affairs. Bush could not have won the 2004 election, but having won the 2000 one and having had 9/11 happen on his watch and having done, in the eyes of most of America, a pretty acceptable job dealing with it, he is in a perfect place to win through fear. Domestically, Dean can eat Bush alive. But this election is unlikely to be domestic unless issues of foreign policy can be neutralized early on. Only a few contenders in the field can do that: Kerry, Clark, and Hart (some might say Graham but I see no way for him to be viable).
It's a question of storylines, and as we see with the Republican's decision to hold their convention in New York, the Bush storyline will be that of a resolute leader who prevailed over a time of danger and uncertainty and marshaled Americans to face down the threats, engage the world, and stay strong. barring another terrorist attack before the election, it's a viable spin.
What this boils down to is, what is more important to Americans? America, or Iraq? Do we care more about foreig policy or domestic? Shall we build schools in Umm Qasr or in downtown Detroit? I know my opinion on tghis. What's yours?
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Obama 2008 - I want my country back
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.