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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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Sunday, August 31, 2003


Deja vu

posted by G at Sunday, August 31, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Adam Nagourney is not my favorite New York Times reporter. That would be Judith Miller (just kidding!) His political analysis often just echoes the latest spin put out by the Bush administration or the DLC. His article today, however, says some accurate things about Dean, so before I get to the sardonic ridicule, let us praise the following excerpts from the article:
The unorthodox character of Dr. Dean's candidacy — and the nature of his support from men and women who have been drawn into politics for the first time by his candidacy — has turned Dr. Dean into a difficult target for conventional political attacks.
What is increasingly clear, several Democrats said, is that primary voters are not likely to choose someone who is promising to run a nuanced campaign against Mr. Bush. Dr. Dean has set the tone on that, as he made clear again today.

"John Ashcroft is not a patriot," he said, referring to the attorney general's advocacy of the Patriot Act. "John Ashcroft is a descendant of Joseph McCarthy."

Harsh or not, Dr. Dean's attacks on Mr. Bush have heartened Democratic audience, and the pitch of attacks on Mr. Bush by other Democrats has increased with each new sign of Dr. Dean's success.
OK, time for ridicule. Here's the thesis of the article:
The race for the Democratic presidential nomination shifts into a more intense phase this Labor Day weekend, with some party leaders worried about the strength of their field of candidates and fearful of what they view as President Bush's huge advantage going into next year's election.
Lo and behold, through the miracle of Nexis, we find that Nagourney has previously written many articles about how tremendously difficult it will be for the Democrats to defeat President Bush ... in 1992. A few choice bits from his 1991 articles in USA Today:

March 22 --
Battered and facing a bleak future, Democratic Party leaders meet in Washington today in search of a way to shift voters' attention from the Persian Gulf to the economy.

State party leaders say their only hope for defeating President Bush in 1992 rests on a continued deterioration of the economy.
Still, the signs do not bode well for the party that has won just one of the past six presidential elections.

Bush's popularity has soared to record levels because of the war.
August 8 --
What once was shrugged off by Democrats as a passing gust of the political winds - the absence of heavyweight challengers to President Bush - is now looming as a major political embarrassment.
The way things are shaping up, the Democrats could easily end up with only two viable candidates: Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, both little-known outside their states. The third, and only announced candidate, is ex-Massachusetts senator Paul Tsongas, whose campaign has yet to catch on.
Still, the lack of interest only reinforces the notion that Bush is unbeatable.
August 21 --
During times of international turmoil, voters are reluctant to turn out presidents. Further, Democrats acknowledge that Bush is now in his element - viewed as a strong president needed to stand up to a renewed Soviet menace.
To make matters worse, the turmoil spotlights the holes in the foreign policy resumes of Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and former Masschuasetts senator Paul Tsongas.
It must be easy being a political reporter these days--you don't have to come up with any new story ideas, since you just can just pull up those articles from Bush I's re-election campaign and search-and-replace the Democrats' names. You don't even have to change the incumbent president's name. What a cushy gig!


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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.