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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, August 15, 2003


Dean refuses to unilaterally disarm,1,7600188.story?coll=chi-news-hed

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, August 15, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Back in march, the campaign made a fairly strong commitment to public financing. This means that the campaign would accept a spending cap in return for federal matching funds. Candidates who accept matching funds are eligible to receive up to $18.7 million, with an imposed total spending cap of $44 million through the primary season. The money comes from the voluntary $2 check box on your tax return.

Bush of course has rejected the federal funds - he is estimated to raise about $200 million. Kerry has also indicated he may reject the spending cap, to keep his option to tap into wife Theresa Heinz's ketchup fortune. Now, comes word that Dean is reconsidering his comitment to federal matching funds (and the associated spending cap), in the wake of his opponents'' resources and his own fund raising prowess:

On Friday, however, Dean cited Bush's plans to raise $200 million -- five times the spending limit -- as a reason for keeping his options open.

"I think public financing is a good thing. The question is what do you do with an opponent who can murder you from March to December?" Dean said.

Democrats worry that their nominee will emerge from the primaries broke, restricted by public financing caps, while Bush holds a huge financial advantage until he accepts public financing after the GOP convention in September 2004.

I think this is a smart move. It makes absolutely no sense to impose limits on yourself - back in March the very idea that we could raise $500,000 in one weekend was frankly ludicrous. Why constrain your options and thus deprive yourself of resources that you will need to face a far larger opponent? Note that the DNC has started the ePatriots program for precisely this reason - whoever the nominee will be, they will need cash to fight Bush. Desperately.

However the idea that Dean's campaign will even reach the spending cap is probably over-optimistic:

Dean reported raising about $10.5 million in the first two quarters. Assuming he matches his second-quarter total and posts another $7.6 million by Sept. 30, he would have collected $18 million heading into the last three months of the year, Dean said, calling that "a long way between here and $44 million."

A looooong way indeed. Then again - this is People Powered Howard. Who knows what we can achieve? We still are barely tapping into the vast potential of the netroots. And we won't beat Bush by being frugal.


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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.