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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 05, 2003


No Dems Break Out in First 2004 Debate

posted by Editor at Monday, May 05, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
David Corn of The Nation joins in on evaluating the debate performances of the Democratic Nine. He has this to say about Gov. Dean:

The passionate realist, the doctor-and-governor who knows how to make systems work, but who realizes the limits of what is possible. Still, he claims to be the Democrats' Democrat and wants his party to kick Bush in the teeth on taxes, healthcare, homeland security, education, and foreign policy.

Also of note:

In South Carolina, Kerry wouldn't let go of this bone. "I believe," he said of Dean, "that anybody who thinks that they have to prepare for the day that we're not the strongest is preparing for a day when we have serious problems." He was bayoneting a straw man to position himself as a strong-on-security candidate. Coming from the stately frontrunner--who boasts years of foreign policy experience and a solid combat record--this assault seemed even more of a cheap (and trivial) shot. As for the war itself, Kerry characterized his nuanced position on the war: "I would have preferred if we had given diplomacy a greater opportunity, but I think it was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein. And when the president made the decision, I supported him, and I support the fact that we did disarm him." Was Kerry trying "to have it both ways?" moderator George Stephanopoulos asked Dean. The ex-governor, who so far in the race has been the most confrontational candidate, declined to take a poke. Instead he noted that the Iraq war was "the wrong war at the wrong time." But he assailed Bush's "new policy of preventive war." Actually, the word is preemptive. Dean, though, kept calling it "preventive" throughout the debate. To some, preventive war probably sounds positive. This was a small slip-up, but it reinforced a problem Dean has demonstrated previously. When he discusses foreign policy--even though he has some clear-cut stances--he does not always speak reassuringly. My theory: foreign policy is hard (especially when you are opposing a popular war), and it takes a while to learn how to talk the talk.


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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.