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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


Et tu, Salon?

posted by annatopia at Friday, July 11, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
I almost didn't tackle this article because some of my fellow bloggers are more adept at putting down this type of criticism. However, this is getting major netplay, so I decided that we should tackle it as a group. First, go get your Salon Day Pass and read the article, then come back here.

Now, I could probably pick through the article line by line, because it contains many assumptions that completely miss the mark. But I don't want to pick a fight with John Judis. If converted, he (and Salon - although they sure have shown some pro-Kerry bias in the past) could be a powerful ally. Judis's articles are usually pretty damned good, and I'd rather take a moment to try and convince him why his article isn't accurate.

We've covered the McGovern thing extensively in the past (yes, those are all separate posts), but for some reason our message hasn't sunk in yet. I won't attempt to discern why the media keeps regurgitating this ridiculous comparison. Instead, I'd like to go through the rinse-repeat cycle of reasons why Dean is not McGovern.

1. This isn't 1972, and Iraq isn't Vietnam.
2. McGovern's platform focused on the anti-war angle. Dean's platform began on health care, picked up steam due to his war opposition, and is now based on a great American restoration. I honestly don't believe McGovern was as far-sighted.
3. Dean isn't anti-war; he supported the war in Afghanistan.
4. The public is beginning to see that Howard Dean was right.
5. Mostly importantly, the Democratic base is committed to uniting behind the eventual nominee, unlike 1972 where McGovern's victory left the party bitterly divided.

Go ahead, add your own. I'm getting tired of this comparison, but I know it's going to come up again. So, gentle readers, help us put together a list of reasons Dean isn't McGovern, and I'll make sure I repost them every time the subject comes up.

UPDATE (Aziz): TAPPED comes to Dean's defense!

Judis is much deeper in the numbers on this stuff than Tapped. And we respect his opinions highly. But we're not convinced. First of all, here's a very interesting Associated Press story about interest in Dean among the Southern Democrats who one would expect would be slamming him (the way they slammed Al Gore, for instance). No one's endorsed him yet, but several indicate that his support for children's health care, combined with his support for gun rights, could play well in their districts. So that's pretty interesting.

Second, it's not clear that Dean is a attracting a purely McGovernite, left-liberal constituency. In New Hampshire, according to this poll John Kerry beats Dean among Democrats 28 percent to 18 percent. independents who plan to vote in the Democratic primary are what make Dean a contender there -- they support him 26 to 15 percent. (And the poll in question, by American Research Group, undersamples independents.) We'd be interested in seeing how Dean did among independents elsewhere in the country. (And speaking of Northeastern liberals, Judis doesn't adequately explain why Kerry, whom he favors, would do better than Dean.
Third, hasn't Judis been telling us since the publication of his book (with Ruy Teixeira), The Emerging Democratic Majority, that the professional class is the key to Democratic victory over the long term?

Pretty devastating, read the whole thing! Though frankly, I think Anna nailed the response better. Anna, they should hire you :)


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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.