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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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Sunday, April 06, 2003

 

Michael Moore's Ascent - And an Acknowledgment of Dean's Fundraising Appeal in Hollywood http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/06/arts/06RICH.html?ex=1050210000&en=a3f304925b0abfc9&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE

posted by Christopher at Sunday, April 06, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Frank Rich writes in today's New York Times that Michael Moore just may have more impact as a serious/funny everyman than the so-called "liberal network" that some Hollywood types are attempting to establish to counter the Rush's, Ann Coulter's, and Sean Hannity's of the world. According to the article, Moore has struck a nerve with his commentary, his unwillingness to shrink from the "liberal" label, and his refusal to dish it out as well as the far-right. In short, he's drawn some blood. An excerpt:

To Mr. Moore, the "virtual insanity" he has provoked in "the Bill O'Reillys and others" on the right is an indication that he, unlike many of his fellow showbiz antiwar protesters, has actually drawn blood. That's a shock to the conservative system. Liberals have been so lame in battling on the mass media's turf that Democratic fat cats in February ponied up $10 million to finance a talk-show radio network that will field hosts to counter Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Yet Mr. Moore, without a talk show, may be just the lethal heat-seeking show-business weapon they have been looking for. It's telling that conservatives who deride him as a big, fat idiot sound as worried about Mr. Moore as liberals were about Mr. Limbaugh when he began his rise to superstardom.

Like Mr. Limbaugh at his least grandiose best, Mr. Moore's persona is more funny than angry, more everyman than show-biz. He is not, as he puts it, "a didactic, wimpy kind of liberal" — one of those whiners that makes audiences reach for the remote faster than you can say "Phil Donahue." Mr. Moore may not be subtle as a filmmaker or a polemicist, but the grandstanding glee of his broad strokes is precisely what makes him succeed as a showman. "Bowling for Columbine," with its wild (and sometimes dubious) leaps of logic and Kubrickesque juxtapositions of grim content (carnage-filled newsreels) with humorous trappings (Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World") makes a seemingly shopworn liberal gripe (the American culture of violence) seem like a lark.

The column closes with a reference to Moore's new work, "Fahrenheit 911" which looks at the oil connections between Texas, the Bush family, the Bin Laden family and other Saudis that will be release two weeks prior to the election. Rich notes that this in combination with Hollywood "lining up to contribute to Howard Dean" might prove a potent combination against the Bush White House.


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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.