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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 09, 2003


Saletan wowed by Dean

posted by G at Monday, June 09, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
From a review of the Iowa picnic by Slate's William Saletan:
Dean is far and away the most interesting player in the race. Not since Clinton have Democrats seen a talent like this. Here's Dean on the federal budget:
When Ronald Reagan came into office, he cut taxes, we had big deficits, and we lost 2 million jobs. When Bill Clinton came into office, he raised taxes without a single Republican vote; we balanced the budget; we gained 6 and a half million jobs. George Bush has already lost 2 and a half million. I want a balanced budget because that's how you get jobs in this country is to balance the books. No Republican president has balanced the budget in 34 years. …You had better elect a Democrat, because the Republicans cannot handle money. … We're the party of responsibility, and they're not.
When you hear Dean talk like this, you wonder why no one else can make the party's case so simply. If more Democrats spoke this way, maybe they'd control a branch of government.

Success is beginning to warp Dean a bit. He told the Iowa crowd, "People inside the Beltway have said that because I told the truth early, that I'm unelectable. [But] it may be because I told the truth early, that I may be the only one who's electable. We have got to stand up for what we believe, regardless of the polls." Dean has been using that third sentence for months. But the first two are new. He's no longer speaking as freely, because he's become a major player. He's worrying not about the beginner's problem of getting attention but about the advanced problem of projecting electability. That kind of calculus is the opposite of what attracts people to Dean. A principle you advertise as an asset to your electability feels like no principle at all.

P.S.: No politician who's truly foreign to the Beltway talks about "the Beltway."


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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.