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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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Monday, May 12, 2003


Campaign Contrast

posted by Joe at Monday, May 12, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Matt Bailey posts below a Times article with the headline, "Tension Between Dean and Kerry Helps Recast Race for Democrats". Reader Katherine notes in comments that it isn't the snappiest headline, and she's right. But the message of the headline is dead on. The article plainly illustrates the difference between Dean and Kerry, and their respective campaigns.

Kerry Campaign Manager Jim Jordan is at it again, doing his faux-incredulous thing in the newspaper. We already knew he was willing to discredit himself with the old misrepresent-and-spin routine. This time he's "surprised" at how personal the Dean campaign's attacks on John Kerry and the other candidates have been. Here's the quote, which appears two weeks to the day after Kerry campaign spokesman Chris Lehane questioned Dean's fitness to serve:
"There's no secret that we think Mr. Dean's rhetoric has been hot and a little bit personal — with a number of Democratic candidates, not just Senator Kerry. I think he has questioned their character in a way that is surprisingly personal, surprisingly early."
Needless to say, he didn't provide examples or address Lehane's comments.

The contrast between Jordan's contrived surprise and Dean Campaign Manager Joe Trippi's affability is striking:
"I think they are more tightly wound than we are," said [Trippi]. He stopped and started to laugh as he considered his own words.
That contrast carries over to the candidates. Take this quote from Dean and just try to imagine John Kerry uttering these words:
"I was surprised when I looked at the debate at how grumpy I looked. I think I was just more stressed than I realized."
If any further Dean/Kerry spats play out as this one has, it's fine with me. I think we all hope that Kerry's jackals can control themselves, and that there won't be any. But don't be surprised if tomorrow you read about Jim Jordan's "surprise" at some aspect of Dean's health care plan which he finds "extraordinary" and which "has never been endorsed by a serious candidate for president" and therefore "raises serious questions about his capacity to serve".


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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.