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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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Tuesday, June 03, 2003


Dean is not McGovern

posted by G at Tuesday, June 03, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
A UPI article with an overview of the Democratic field makes the Dean-McGovern comparison:
The first medical doctor to make a serious run for the presidency, Dean is firing up grassroots liberals with red-meat speeches attacking President Bush's Iraq policy and promising universal health care. A good comparison can be made to George McGovern in 1972 who capitalized on liberal opposition to Vietnam to win the 1972 Democratic nod. Dean should do well in the early New England contests, but will have to win big states to prove his electabilty. After all, McGovern lost by the greatest popular vote margin ever.
I've been thinking about why Dean is not McGovern. First, McGovern was a soft-spoken old guard Democrat, a good guy, but not one to inspire, about a 3 in charisma on the 1-to-10 scale, according to my father. I would rate Dean an 8 or 9.

Second, McGovern's campaign was focused largely on his opposition to the war. This is understandable because Nixon, despite being a paranoid guy who surrounded himself with reptiles like Kissinger and didn't have the courage to end the war in 1969, wasn't such a bad president overall. The opening to China and the arms controls overtures to the Soviets are achievements he deserves credit for, and on the domestic front he didn't get in the way of a lot of good things, like the creation of the EPA. In contrast, on every front Bush is easily the worst president since Harding, and Dean's campaign reflects a vision which encompasses much more than just the war.

Third, part of the reason McGovern lost is that American progressives were demoralized and fragmented after the events of 1968: the asassinations of RFK and MLK, Jr., and the tumultuous Democratic Convention in Chicago. This time, we're energized, confident, and determined to end the reign of the Bush cabal and take back America. And we will.


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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.