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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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Wednesday, May 28, 2003


R is for Reckless

posted by Ezra at Wednesday, May 28, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Springboarding off of Governor Dean's statements below, I think there is a very powerful meme against the tax cuts, one that expresses what we want in a simple, practical fashion.

Any responsible adult knows that when you get a pay cut, you simply cannot spend as much. You need to conserve money for the basics, your children, health care, upkeep in your home, college funds for your simply cannot spend frivolously at their expense. That is what our President is doing. Tax Cuts are a bonus, something for good times. We cannot have them, however, when schools are closing, when health care is becoming unaffordable, when jobs are being lost and roads are deteriorating and law enforcement agencies don't have the money to protect. The President will tell you not to worry, that even in these lean times you can have both a tax cut and a perfect society. But I'm not going to lie to you. When times are tough, it doesn't matter if you're a country or an individual, you have to tighten your belt and take care of what is truly important. Politicians will tell you that we can have everything, I will tell you that until we get this economy back on its feet, we have to be fiscally responsible. The President is not doing that, I will. I'm Howard Dean, etc.

I think the responsibility versus recklessness meme is one we want to play up. Bush has a frat boy storyline waiting in the wings for him, we want to play the responsible adult thus forcing him back to frat boy-ness. Americans know (and polling data backs this up) that tax cuts don't stimulate the economy and aren't the right course of action right now. I don't think we have to make this about the "soul" of the party, I think we have to make this about balancing the checkbook and bringing the same prudent practices to the Government as we employ in our own homes. Plus, if Dean wants to come across as "more" than a politician, telling hard truths and articulating a clear, positive, but REALISTIC vision for dealing with them is the best way to do that.


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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.