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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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Wednesday, September 24, 2003


Dean gets an assist from SEIU 1199

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, September 24, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Tuesday night, Local 119 union boss Dennis Rivera hosted a Dean fundraiser that raked in at least $30,000 (um, has that been added to the bat, DFA?). Although Rivera didn't formally endorse Dean, Dean's the only candidate Rivera's raised funds for.
"We have been incredibly impressed with him (Dean) and particularly his campaign," union boss Dennis Rivera told a crowd of about 100 union members gathered at the headquarters of Local 1199, Service Employees International Union. "One of the things that Governor Dean is doing is basically campaigning dramatically hard to try and bring more people into the equation and almost changing the way that American politics (is done)."

Rivera seems to understand that reaching out to disaffected democratic voters is the way to win in the general election. Sure, you can play footsie with "centrists" but there's two disadvantages in doing so. First, the centrists float back and forth between parties (hence the term "swing voters"), so you can't really count on them as permanent party converts. Second, by playing to the swingers, you alienate your base and generally you don't inspire new people. And then the result is that the democratic majority stays home on election day. See, we like to be inspired, and playing to the mushy middle just doesn't accomplish that sometimes. Back to the article:
"It's a sign we are impressed and intrigued by the Dean campaign and their ability to mobilize people and contributions, and we're trying to do what we can to be helpful," said Jennifer Cunningham, Rivera's top political adviser and executive director of the health care workers' union, which has more than 200,000 members. "We're not anywhere near an endorsement." The national leadership of the SEIU has said it is still too early to offer an endorsement. Rivera, however, is a key member of the national's leadership. Dean is the only Democratic candidate for whom Rivera is raising money. Nonetheless, Cunningham left no doubt about Rivera's feelings. "We wouldn't be doing an event for him if we weren't supportive," she said.

The SEIU represents many health care workers, and I'm pleased to see that they're open to Dean's health care plan. If anyone knows what ails our county's health care system, it's these rank and file workers who spend every day on the front lines battling the beauracracy while providing the best care possible. While I personally don't worry too much about health care, I know it's a major issue that we need to deal with, especially as baby boomers retire. I'd much rather see the US tackle this problem sooner rather than later. And as my staunchly conservative, baby-boomer, Republican father in law said about two weeks ago when we were discussing the nation's health care crisis, "When you get to be my age, universal health care starts looking pretty damned good."


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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.