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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, June 11, 2003


Answers to Points in the Nation Article

posted by G at Wednesday, June 11, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Most of you have probably seen this critical article "Dean's No Wellstone" from the Nation magazine. It's clear that it presents a one-sided take on Dean. David Corn's earlier profile is much better. The article does, however, raise several points from Dean's record that I'm not familiar with. Could we tackle these as a group and figure out what the story is behind each of these positions? I've separated out the points from the article.
* As governor of Vermont, Dean targeted for elimination the public-financing provision of the state's campaign finance law--a law similar to the one Wellstone pushed in the Senate.

* In February 2002, Dean said his big donors are given special access.

* While Wellstone fought for people on welfare, Dean said some welfare recipients "don't have any self-esteem. If they did, they'd be working" and scaled back Vermont's welfare program, reducing cash benefits and imposing strict time limits on single mothers receiving welfare assistance.

* Dean advocated sending nuclear waste from his state to the poor, mostly Hispanic town of Sierra Blanca, Texas. Wellstone called the proposal "blatant environmental injustice" and fought to delay the measure in the Senate. It ultimately passed but was later determined unsafe.

* Just last year, Dean proposed deep cuts in Medicaid, which were blocked in his own legislature.

* Dean has said that a constitutional amendment to balance the budget "wouldn't be a bad thing" and that the way to balance the federal budget is "for Congress to cut Social Security, move the retirement age to 70 and cut defense, Medicare and veterans' pensions."

* In the name of fiscal conservatism, Dean's final-year Vermont budget also cut portions of the state's public education funding.

* Dean supports the death penalty and as governor was embraced by the NRA.

* Although he opposed the war on Iraq, his policy on the Middle East is closer, he says, to AIPAC--the American Israel Public Affairs Committee--than to progressives calling for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories.


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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.