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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, May 04, 2003


Mean Dean

posted by Editor at Sunday, May 04, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Some interesting observations about Gov. Dean's peformance at the debate

Howard Dean has come a long way by distinguishing himself as a confident, effective liberal. He’s managed that rare synthesis of candidate-who-says-what-he-believes and governor-who-gets-things-done. By doing so, he has avoided coming across as an unprincipled insider or as an unelectable wacko. In Saturday night’s debate, John Kerry continued to try to paint Dean as a wacko for conceding that the United States “won’t always have the strongest military.” I doubt Kerry will succeed, mostly because the quote is too abstract to change many votes in a Democratic primary. Dean’s other anti-war remarks are more vulnerable to attack. I just think Kerry picked the wrong one.

The greater risk for Dean is that his confidence and liberal purity could curdle into arrogance. Early in the debate, he wisely ducked moderator George Stephanopoulos’ invitations to extend his feud with Kerry. But when Kerry suggested that Dean’s predecessor had established the statewide Vermont health insurance coverage for which Dean was taking credit, Dr. Dean gave way to Mr. Snide. “I don’t know what figures you’re looking at, but it’s probably the same figures that you may have been looking at when you voted for your own $350 billion tax cut,” Dean scoffed. “That is the silliest.” Kerry smiled with satisfaction at Dean’s explosion. When Stephanopoulos invited the candidates to question each other, nearly all of them pitched softballs. Not Dean. He slammed Edwards, Kerry, and Lieberman for insufficient opposition to tax cuts. In his closing remarks, Dean was the only candidate who constantly looked down at his notes, a strangely shifty posture for the field’s best ad-libber


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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.