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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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Tuesday, July 15, 2003


What's this? Someone inside the beltway gets it?

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, July 15, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
I've always been somewhat suprised that people inside the Beltway have dismissed Dean's candidacy as coming out of left field. These folks have obviously not taken a good look at his solid, moderate record. In addition, some pundits have suggested that Dean's going to have a hard time working with the insiders due to his blunt, passionate observation that those inside the Beltway have forgotten about those of us on the outside.

Well, think again.

Dean's team has begun a concerted effort to build bridges with those inside the Beltway. This is a GoodThing(TM). There are some inside the Beltway who should naturally be on the Dean bandwagon, including more moderate (ie "centrist") Democrats, and even the southern wing of conservative Democrats.

This MSNBC article gives a hint of what's to come:

But as improbable as it would have seemed three months ago, some Capitol Hill political realists have now accepted — even embraced — the notion that Dean will end up as the Democratic nominee. “I want to beat Bush and I think Dean is the best guy to do that,” said a senior Senate Democratic staffer, who spoke to on condition that he not be named. “I’m convinced he’s going to win the nomination.

So are we, whoever you are. =)

Team Dean has also begun to reach out to the Democratic "Super-delegates", who make up 40% of the attendees at the National Convention. To do this, they've enlisted former Carter staffer Nikki Heidepriem (who has done extensive lobbying work for mental health and women's issues, and has also done work for the Polling Report) and former House staffer Maura Keefe. These ladies "get it":

One lesson of the 2002 elections was that Democratic candidates who voted with Bush on tax cuts and the Iraq war lost anyway. “You had to do some self-examination” about that strategy, Heidepriem said — and that meant finding a candidate who sharply defines differences with Bush.
Heidepriem wants the congressional Democrats to understand that Dean “values members of Congress.” She said, “at first I’d occasionally get a call from a senior staffer or member of Congress saying, ‘it’s hard to help someone when he’s saying that we’re not doing our job.’ But the response to him has been so overwhelming that I hear a lot less now from members and staff about him being dismissive or harsh or overly critical.”

This is all part of a broader strategy which will help sew up support for Dean in Washington DC. This groundwork will pay off later, especially when the convention rolls around. This campaign has grown far beyond anyone's expectations, and has had to begin working on strategies that weren't planned for rollout until later. Reaching out to the Beltway is critical, as is making friends with the press. We've reached that point, and it's only going up from here.


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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.