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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, June 02, 2003


LA Times profile,1,7660873.story

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 02, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
This is the profile that we wanted the NYT to run! A really fantastic analysis of Dean by the LA Times, it does a very solid job of introducing Dean to an audience that may be unfamiliar. There is a lot of information that I hadn't ever heard before, such as how Dean got involved in politics:

BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Lake Champlain waterfront had all the charm of a junkyard when a young physician named Howard Dean moved here from New York in 1978. But Dean and others wanted a place to go bicycling, so they formed a group to buy up land and clean up the abandoned barges and boxcars littering the lakefront.

The effort, built on private donations, grants and volunteer labor, produced a nine-mile-long recreation area with splendid views of New York's Adirondack Mountains. It also launched the political career of a now-54-year-old Democrat who hopes to be the first president elected from this remote state.

Dean vaulted from the Citizens' Waterfront Committee to state representative to lieutenant governor — to a 5 1/2-term governor who extended health coverage to all Vermont children and signed the nation's only state law legalizing same-sex partnerships. He became known equally for his incisive mind and his occasionally sharp elbows.

"The more I did, the more I realized that I could effect change," he said on a stop home between trips to Iowa, California, South Carolina and other key primary states. "I realized that you could change the world by more than one life at a time, which is what you do in medicine."
Dean, a wrestler as a youth, has hiked the 270-mile Long Trail in Vermont's Green Mountains and canoed the state's Connecticut River. He has a listed phone number and neither smokes nor drinks — not even coffee. His wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg, dislikes politics, maintains a medical practice and vows to continue working as a doctor if her husband is elected president.

There are many other personal details in the article, from reflective (such as his response to the question of whether his brother's death influenced his choice of profession) to outright bizarre (his mastery of the rap sequence from the movie Bulworth. shudder). There is also a concise yet informative section of his political achievements and goals, which cover the spectrum in enough detail to give someone new to Dean a solid understanding of the breadth of Dean's positions. This isn't a "Dean the hyper liberal" meme-loving piece.

The article isn't a puff piece either - it does tackle Dean's fabled stubborness (and gives him a fair chance to respond). But overall it's the perfect introduction to the candidate and the personality. It's also a valuable tool for our grassroots recruitment efforts - I highly suggest taking copies of the article to the meetups to hand out.


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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.