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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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Thursday, May 01, 2003


Dean's early sniping draws fellow Democrats to battle

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, May 01, 2003 permalink View blog reactions

The Boston Globe drinks the Kerry Kool Aid:

''The season of attacks has been accelerated really by Howard Dean, which is to say, Dean has gone after Edwards, Kerry -- and nobody sits still and takes that lying down for very long,'' said a Democratic pollster, speaking on condition of anonymity. ''Dean brought it on himself by deciding he was going to use very sharp elbows to force himself onto the national stage. Eventually it would have happened anyway and eventually it will happen with even greater ferocity.''

Deanistan residents have watched the Edwards and Kerry tiffs evolve in real-time, so we have a deeper perspective than this article, which essentially repackages the conventional wisdom. The Globe article, while uncritically accepting the "Dean started it" meme, does however make an important point - that regardless of Dean's intentions (ie, pointing out why the other candidates are unwilling to challenge Bush when it matters - and thus why they can't beat Bush), he is seen as the instigator. And as long as the conventional wisdom agrees, then even outright hypocrisy by the others in response will be justified by the opposing campaigns as self-defense.

I was disappointed to see that in yesterday's Notepad, Dean's campaign chose to hammer hard again on the Kerry-military flap. Thats a mistake - it's in the campaign's best interest to let these die quickly. The campaign needs to rise above the fray, by responding only once. Then leave teh rest of the defense to Deanistan and the netroots.

In fact, I think the campaign should deliberately wait a full day before respondsing (once) to any such future attacks. That will give them time to incoporate the research done by the netroots and the political elites at Slate, TNR, etc. Imagine how devastating it would have been if Dean's official response incorporated Kerry's hypocrisy from the outset? Yesterday's Notepad response just looks like piling on - I'll be highly surprised if the Kerry campaign notepad entry has anything about the flap at all. In a sense, the campaign squandered the rhetorical advantage by pushing too hard - and played right into Kerry's hands by reinforcing the conventional wisdom.

The Notepad is a great innovation. But it is also public and high-profile and it can't be wasted. I think the Dean campaign needs to use it to focus on Dean, not on Kerry.

and leave the brawlin' to Deanistan.


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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.