Nation-Building >> The Texas Gambit | return to front page

"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

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to netvibes

website stats

Previous Posts
Netflix, Inc.
ThinkGeek T-Shirts will make you cool!
illy coffee - 2 cans, 2 mugs for just $26.

Saturday, August 02, 2003


The Texas Gambit

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, August 02, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
US News' Roger Simon figured out the Texas strategy early, prompting the disclosure on the official blog a little earlier than the campaign had planned. He analyzes the new shift in strategy:

Trippi describes the next phase of the Dean campaign this way: "Over the next six months," he says, "we must be in George Bush's face."

And it intends to be there with more than doggie tricks. U.S. News has learned that the Dean campaign will spend between $100,000 and $200,000 to put up a new television commercial running this week in the unlikely (and probably unwinnable) state of Texas. In the ad, which Dean taped last Wednesday in Council Bluffs, Iowa, he wears a blue, open-necked work shirt, faces the camera, and says, "I want to change George Bush's reckless foreign policy, stand up for affordable healthcare, and create new jobs . . . . Has anybody really stood up against George Bush and his policies? Don't you think it's time somebody did?"

The pitch, which is airing only in Austin (at the same time President Bush is vacationing in Crawford, 87 miles away), is to some extent a stunt but on another level is intended to send the message that Dean will cede no ground to Bush anywhere. "We want to go right into the belly of the beast," Trippi says.

Dean's first reaction to the idea of a Texas ad was a somewhat amazed: "What?" But Trippi repeated his Zen-like advice to the candidate. "I tell him the only way he can win is to believe in his heart he cannot win," Trippi says. "We've got to act like we have nothing to lose."

An interesting thing in this article is describing how Dean's reaction was stunned when Trippi first proposed the Texas Gambit. It's clear that n the real world just as in the Internet, a large part of Dean's sucess has been Trippi-driven. It's rare to see a visionary in action, but there you go. The whole article is worth reading for a number of awesome anecdotes (including the fact that Dean thought teh campaign website was hacked when he saw the results from Million Dollar Monday :) and a strong analysis of the dynamics of the Democratic Party with Dean in the race.

UPDATE: Demosthenes comments:

Remember exactly what he's done here: he's taken extra money from an online fundraiser and plowed it into attacking the person who is largely driving Dean's activism: President Bush. Those donors (and their fellow activists) are the real target. Dean is giving them exactly what they want. Their money is going towards fighting Bush, in a bold and audacious way. They were the first ones to know, and they're being endlessly lauded for their support. They feel like they're important, like they make a difference, and that's absolutely vital. If they were fanatical before, they'll be zealots now.
Thus we get back to the ad, and why it's brilliant. It helps build this army, it makes people feel good about being in this army, it ensures that they'll support Dean as much as they're financially able and encourage others to do so, and assuming Dean doesn't forget about them during the "lurch to the center", he'll have an on-the-ground electoral machine that this country has never seen before.

(Of course, this depends on Dean winning the nomination. I have no idea about that, and many of the Dean backers have said they'll support the Dems no matter who they nominate, possibly barring Leiberman. It just got a fair bit likelier today, however, and I'm increasingly convinced that Dean is building the campaign of the 21st century. Whether or not he wins, what he's doing right now matters.


Post a Comment


View blog top tags
The Assault on Reason

Obama 2008 - I want my country back

I want my country back - Obama 2008

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.