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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 22, 2003


Dean v. Kucinich

posted by Ezra at Friday, August 22, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
This is an E-mail I got from a Kucinich supporter -- they've been sending this letter to everyone they can think of. I find it a bit insulting but, at least they're trying. Anyway, the Kucinich supporters comments and letter are reproduced below, my comments are in bold. Enjoy.

I am hoping that you will reconsider supporting Dean on your site, and begin supporting Dennis Kucinich. Here are a couple of reasons why:

I appreciate your input, but I hope you'll reconsider supporting Dennis.

1) He want to set up universal healthcare with a single payer plan, similar to Canada's, and the one that a respected doctor's organization just recommended to the current administration.

Single payer is simply unfeasible in this country, at this time. First off, we simply don't have the money for it, and the Bush Tax Cuts won't provide it. Second, people don't trust it -- it doesn't have overwhelming support and without that (even with it) it won't pass a Republican Congress. Dean's plan will go through. It doesn't offend every interest out there, and it isn't such a radical change that people will be scared. Change doesn't come all at once, disasters, however, do.

2) Full social security benefits at age 65.

Again, where is the money coming from for this? It's pie-in-the-sky, we don't have the funds. Hopes and dreams are nice, but fiscal moderation is essential. Anyway, my personal instinct is to move SS up a few years, not down.

3) Wants withdrawal from NAFTA and WTO.

I can't support this. When things are broken you fix them. You don't simply pull out of NAFTA (and make Mexico collapse), you fix it. Mend it, don't end it. And the WTO is an organization with terrific potential -- you can use it do great good, as Dick Gephardt wishes to do, with an international minimum wage (on a varying scale tied to development) -- to simply scrap it is horrible precedent. International organizations have a worth of their own, and we should be making them work rather than destroying those we dislike.

4) Advocates our citizens' right to choose, privacy, and civil rights.

And Dean won't? Dennis has been horrible on a women's right to choose. Prior to running for President as a liberal, he was anti-choice 95% of the time. Dean was on the board of Planned Parenthood...not a comparison Dennis comes out of favorably.

5) Wants more balance between the interests of workers and corporations.

So does everyone. Ideals are great, but they're not policies nor courses of action. Kucinich seems to be trading in dreams and ignoring realities, political, social, economic or otherwise.

6) Wants to guarantee a quality education, pre-kindergarten through college.

Dean has actually done that. Vermont was 6th in the nation for education. This is another bland ideal without a foundation to it. I prefer records to rhetoric and policies to wishes. Kucinich seems to be on the wrong end of those choices to often.

7) Would put forth a renewed commitment to peace and diplomacy.

Again, as opposed to Dean? This form letter (I've seen it elsewhere) might be an interesting contrast with a Republican, but not with other Democrats. Kucinich is for a foreign policy of unbelievable weakness...this is not a world that rewards weakness. It is a world that rewards prudence, caution, and strength. Dean has those qualities in spades.

8) Wants to help restore rural communities and family farms.

What does that even mean?

9) Would repeal the Patriot Act.

This is a bit better. He'd need Congress on his side and that wouldn't happen, but I appreciate the thought.

10) Wants environmental renewal and to develop clean energy sources.

Him and everyone else. Few people are running on "Kill the trees and rape the dolphins!" platforms. Even Bush titles his policies with environmentally friendly names like the "Healthy Forest initiative".

Want more info? Go to his website at I am currently volunteering with a group in Milwaukee to help him get elected. This is the first time I have ever volunteered for any campaign, and many other people in the Kucinich group here are saying the same. Not only has Bush pissed them off one too many times, but they finally feel like they see in Kucinich the one guy who can inspire them and spur them to action. I feel the same way. So, please consider supporting Dennis Kucinich on your site with some links to his site, and other info about him. I really think he's the guy we all could feel excited about for a change.

That's how people feel about Dean. The difference is that Dean is raising the money and attracting the support that suggests he can actually beat Bush, Kucinich is doing neither. I spent a couple months in Vermont working to get Dean elected, so I certainly appreciate your commitment, but I think you're backing the wrong horse.

Name Ommitted,

Ezra Klein


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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.