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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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Thursday, July 03, 2003


All Iowa, all the time!

posted by annatopia at Thursday, July 03, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
There's lots of interesting coverage of the Adopt-An-Iowan strategy running across the nation today. First, the article I've linked above gives a brief description of where the campaign stands, then goes on to briefly explain the AAI program. It's a good briefer for anyone who's new to this grassroots effort. There's also a nice quote from Trippi, who explains how this strategy was formed:

Dean campaigners expect the individual approach to have big returns. "This program is the result of our supporters asking us to include them -- to give them the power directly to influence the important presidential caucuses," Campaign Manager Joe Trippi said. "This is grassroots politics as it should be. The only special interests at play here are the concerns of 47,000 ordinary Americans."

With the announcement of this strategy comes more press coverage of local meetups. Here is coverage from University Place, WA, which features some choice quotes from Dean supporters. I love the sampling of quotes because they are varied and demonstrate that Dean's support isn't isolated to the "activist elite" or "ultra left":

“Because I have two family members sitting in Iraq right now.”
“He’s against the weird craziness Bush is doing – Dean isn’t against war, I’m retired military, and I know Dean is not going to declare war for the wrong reasons.”
“I like Howard Dean because he follows in a long tradition of very independent Vermonters. Vermont happens to have the only independent Senator. Howard Dean falls in that long tradition and so I am for him.”
“I like Dean because he is a fiscal conservative and has the ability to repair some of the damage that Shrub has done to us. Bush-like is not going to beat Bush in this election; we need a true Democrat.”
“I like his stand on equal rights for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
“His Healthy Start program which reduced child abuse by 43 percent.”
“One of the reasons I support him is that when I listen to him, the positions he takes are his and not the product of coaching.”

Along those lines, the Milwaukee meetup group also gets some coverage. This is a great article which focuses on the enthusiasm actions like the AAI programs generate among supporters, including those who have never been involved in a grassroots campaign.

Now let's turn our eyes on the Iowa press. First, there's this brief article describing the strategy which is running statewide in Iowa. The Des Moines Register also covers Dean today. The article is pretty fair and balanced (heh heh) and features a few quotes from Iowans who are taking a close look at Dean:

Martha Avelleyra Powers, a Dubuque elementary school music teacher, saw the ads and attended the library event to see whether Dean was as "genuine" as he appeared to be in the spot. "I found him articulate and forthright," she said afterward. "He doesn't appear afraid to take on the Bush administration."

Seems like these folks will be very receptive to the positive, empowering message of the Dean campaign.

And finally, from the Daily Iowan, there's an article (registration required) about Dean's meetup visit last night in Iowa. According to the article, Dean touched upon some of his key platforms, such as balancing the budget, health care for all Americans, foreign policy, and a new idea called "Dean Corps" that's designed to renew our sense of community and responsibility to each other.

What I loved most about this article was the following quote from Cedar Rapids resident Libby Slappey:

"The numbers say Gephardt, but I'm hard-pressed to say that," she said. "When you look around the room, do you see three-piece-suit politicians? No, you see the face of America."

You got it, Libby! What most pundits still fail to realise is that this grassroots effort is not being sprearheaded by "activist elites", but rather, it is being spurred by the efforts of everyday Americans across the country. Perhaps this is why most of them still don't seem to grasp why we're growing exponentially. For lack of a better way to describe it, they just don't get it. But you know what? WE GET IT. TRIPPI GETS IT. And slowly but surely, our fellow Americans are beginning to GET IT.

I'd love to hear from the readers of Dean Nation who attended meetups and wrote letters. What did you emphasise? How far did you stray from the guidelines? Let's give the media (cause you know they're reading this) something to talk about in their follow ups, folks. Keep hammering the message home, and eventually, they too will GET IT.


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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.