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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


Right-wing blog envy

posted by Chuckie at Friday, August 22, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Pejman Yousefzadeh looks for problems with candidate blogging and finds some, or so he says:

Consider Dean's weblog as well. The overwhelming majority of the entries are authored by campaign staffers who use the blog to announce future campaign events, discuss the state of the Dean campaign in how it is faring in the presidential horserace, and put forth stories about the latest Dean appearances, and campaign happenings. All of this is a clever use of the Web to keep Dean in the news, but it does nothing to provide a fresh perspective on issues that Dean believes to be important. It certainly doesn't help that Dean himself rarely blogs on his own site, and that campaign staffers have to take such a giant role in serving as Dean's voice on the blog. One cannot help but wonder whether this excessive reliance on campaign staffers to write his campaign weblog indicates that Dean is too much a creature of his handlers, without anything serious or unique to say to the people whose votes he seeks.

First of all, Pejman is mixing his memes. We all know which 2004 presidential candidate is too reliant on his handlers, and it isn't Dean. Here's a hint: he was the 2000 presidential candidate who was too reliant on his handlers.

The "creature of his handlers" bit is a shot in the dark, pulled out of thin air, backed by nothing and floated out there to implant doubt in the minds of readers.

As for Dean not blogging regularly, I ask: If you were running for President, driving around rural states in an RV, starting your day shaking hands in a diner and going from public event to public event until a debate or fundraising dinner clears out at 10 pm, when would you have the time to blog? Blogging is a spare-time activity: Unpaid, requiring a fair amount of research and daily maintainance. If Dean was blogging himself, you'd probably write him off as an also-ran because he has too much time on his hands.

The official Dean blog works because it is written by both the bigwigs and the little guys on the campaign, whose reason for blogging is to excite the grassroots network that meets up every month, but wants to keep abreast of the campaign in between. It gives readers the feeling that they are insiders, and adds the sort of transparency that Bush's CREEP website merely apes with a donor list, most of which you can get elsewhere anyway.


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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.