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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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Saturday, August 23, 2003


Momentum Forces Dean To Shift to Higher Gear

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, August 23, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
There's a lot of information in this comprehensive WaPo story about Dean's momentum and the campaign's adaptation to "front runner" status. Dean is expanding his message beyond the red-meat partisan base, which is essential if he aims to win not just the nomination but also the general election itself:

Yet to win the nomination and defeat Bush, Dean will likely need to broaden his appeal to attract southern Democrats, who tend to be more conservative; independents, who often swing between the two parties, and even Fox News watchers and Journal editorial page readers, who tend to be Republicans.

Dean is increasingly reaching out to these audiences, which brought him to a bipartisan breakfast at the Queen City Rotary Club meeting here early Thursday morning. The 250 Democratic activists who listened to Dean bash Bush repeatedly the night before in a supporter's back yard might not have recognized the tame policy wonk detailing his positions on the economy and foreign affairs to this crowd. It was a sneak preview of how Dean might sound in a general election campaign.

"The nice thing about talking to this Rotary is I can take the spin off my fastball," he told the 50 or so Rotarians. "This is a bipartisan audience, so we don't do the red meat. I am just going to talk about programs."

That's key - there's deep substance behind Dean's positions on the issues, not just empty rhetoric for the fringe. This gives a far more balanced view of the campaign's appeal than what you'd infer from seeing teh chanting crwowds on the campaign trail, and a real preview of what Dean would be like against Bush.

kudos to Adam for noticing this additional nugget:

What started as a point-by-point review of his economic and health care policies turned quickly into his dissertation on foreign affairs in Cuba, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Iraq. Dean has been getting tutored on foreign policy by numerous experts, including retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar. He has also had several private conversations with retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who some Democrats see as an attractive running mate for Dean if Clark does not join the race himself.


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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.