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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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Friday, July 11, 2003


Deadly for who?

posted by Ezra at Friday, July 11, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
One of the consistent memes out there is that Dean's opposition to the iraq war makes him unelectable. This is advanced by everyone from Rove, to the DLC, to Lieberman. But let's examine this quickly, because I think the CW is being proven wrong here.

Dean's position has two components - before and after. Before the war happened, Dean felt it was the wrong war at the wrong time and we shouldn't have entered into it. So had he been president in early March, we would not have entered into this conflict - the evidence wasn't persuasive, the threat wasn't imminent, the time wasn't right and the support wasn't there. Now, the after component recognizes we did go to war, and there is no point in simply resenting reality, so we must chart the correct path forward considering our current situation. In light of the numerous attacks on our soldiers and the general danger of the climate there, Dean proposes to move in more troops, both American and international, and devote our considerable resources to correctly cleaning this mess we've made.

Now, the CW argues that the Iraq war was overwhelmingly popular and will be the President's ace in the hole come election season (God knows he's not going to run on the economy). But is that still true?

As the evidence mounts that Bush lied to get us in there and the body count increases, public support for the war is plummeting. In May, 78% of Americans approved of G.W's handling of the war, now it's down to 58% and dropping. The 9/11 report comes out in two weeks, the Yellowcake scandal will only grow. Troops will keep dying, especially as the Iraqi opposition smells political blood in the water. And through all this, Dean can attack Bush from the left and the right!

He can be on the right side of the original judgment question - the evidence was faked, he didn't believe it. That'll play perfectly with the left, he was anti-war and he remains antiwar. It's not that the other candidates are evil for being fooled, but don't you want a president with a good bullshit detector? And he can hit from the Right, saying that if we're in there, he doesn't want our troops dying and it is our obligation to fulfill our promises and help their country get back on its feet, and so we need more troops in. He's sorry we're in this mess, but as long as we are, he wouldn't let political considerations stop him from doing the right thing.

The mess Bush created in Iraq has the potential to end his presidency and initiate Dean's...we just can't let up on the pressure.


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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.