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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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Thursday, September 25, 2003


Anti-Bush moderates

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, September 25, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
EJ Dionne writing in the Washington Post:

The analytical mistake is to assume that the anti-Bush feeling, which is there, leads straight to the fever swamps of radicalism. In fact, the dislike of Bush among Democrats is more personal and partisan than it is ideological. Democrats are not, in fact, moving to the far left.
To beat Bush, they are willing to back a general whose views on many issues are unknown -- and who appears to have voted for Ronald Reagan. Whether they are right or wrong about Clark, pure ideologues don't do stuff like that. They back Dennis Kucinich.

Nor can former Vermont governor Howard Dean be seen as some kind of leftist. Yes, he won many left-wing hearts by opposing Bush on Iraq. But Dean has been a moderate, even conservative, Democrat on many issues, including Medicare and Social Security. Rep. Dick Gephardt is going at Dean hard on these questions.

If the rebellion in the Democratic Party were primarily ideological, closet centrist Dean would be going nowhere. What Dean understood earlier than his rivals is that Democrats wanted someone who did not seem intimidated by Bush. Iraq became both a substantive issue and a symbol. If Dean was willing to fight Bush on Iraq, many Democrats reasoned that he'd be tough enough to take him on across the board.

not just Democrats! but also centrists like me. The rest of the article is just as excellent, poiting out that the roots of anger at Bush were planted well before the war in Iraq. And this centrist discontent has been steadily building, to the point where Bush is facing routine sub-50 polling numbers.

(also see David Neiwert's comments)


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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.