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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, July 07, 2003


Episode II (Attack of the Clones)

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, July 07, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The conservatives are terrified of Dean, because they know he is the real threat. NewsMax insinuates Dean has a drinking problem, and along with American Daily tries to use Dean's son as ammunition (both rags are seemingly unaware of what a Pandora's box this line of reasoning is to their Golden Child, Bush). American Daily is (unintentionally, unlike The Onion) hysterically funny in it's reactionary attempts to spin Dean as the Second Coming of Lenin:

Back here in the real world, a man named Howard Dean is running for president, and what he is selling is a snake oil worse than anything ever pedaled door-to-door or at any MLM convention. In fact, what Howard Dean is pushing would make FDR gasp and Lenin applaud.

Some conservatives are in denial. Mark Steyn of the Sun Times goes to great lengths to explain just how Vermont is the epicenter of "ponytailed granola progressivism." He also gets in a reference to Cameron Diaz and Miramax somehow. Joseph Farrah of WorldNet Daily is scared enough to actually say "No on Howard Dean" (as if he had anything to say about it), sounds the "danger! extreme liberal!" alarm:

This idea that discrimination – meaning the making of a value judgment – is a bad thing demonstrates just how whacky Howard Dean is.

This guy is out there. He is trying to position himself as the "most progressive" of all the candidates – and, depending on your definition of the term, he has been successful.

My guess is the candidacy of Howard Dean will not make the first cut of primaries. His attacks on President Bush's character exceed the boundaries of good taste and civil politics – even by Democratic Party standards.

That's real meat and potatoes stuff, but it's not the Machiavellian conservatives who read that tray liner. There's actually an emerging "Conservatives for Dean" movement (not to be confuse with the true principled Republicans for Dean meaningfully who contribute to our ongoing dialouge here at Dean Nation). Some conservatives are actually donating money to Dean's campaign! Rush Limbaugh has an article titled "Please Let it be Howard Dean" which thankfully I'm prevented from accessing unless I become a dues-paying ditto-head. Karl Rove himself has joined in:

Rove told a companion, "Heh, heh, heh. Yeah, that's the one we want, How come no one is cheering for Dean? Come on, everybody! Go, Howard Dean!"

(Jerome has covered the convergence between Rove and the DLC's rhetoric in an earlier must-read post).

Now, the American Spectator is concerned for Dean's privacy, claiming that Kerry's campaign is digging through Dean's trash for "oppo" research. And Drudge chimed in yesterday claiming that Dean wants McAuliffe out as head of the DNC (easily refuted by Trippi). Both Daily Kos and Joshua Marshall have covered these events in excellent detail.

What this all boils down to is fear. The DLC is afraid of Dean, so Al From attacks him for being too liberal, invoking McGovern's defeat. The conservative media is afraid of Dean, so they are trying to convince Democrats (leveraging their domination of mass media) that Dean is too liberal. The other candidates are afraid of Dean, so they dismiss the fundraising success as the "crazy base". Karl Rive and the DLC are handing out talking points to their sides, and we are seeing an amazing convergence of rhetoric from left and right.

This all works to the conservatives' benefit of course - after all, you have the moderate liberals denouncing Dean, the quintessential moderate, as being too liberal (exactly which party do the DLC think they belong to?).

But what the conservatives really fear is Dean's ability to reclaim the center. Under GOP rule, this country has drifted so far right that a moderate like Dean looks liberal. And their own position seems moderate. What Dean presents is a real threat that the Emerging Democratic Majority will wake up and realize that the center is theirs. And that's something that threatens the elites at both ends.


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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.