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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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Sunday, September 07, 2003


Give 'Em Hell Howard

posted by Trammell at Sunday, September 07, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
This week's issue of The Memphis Flyer features a major cover story on Howard Dean by Jackson Baker. It's a very interesting (and rather long) article, so I'll just excerpt this inetersting tidbit from the beginning of the piece and let ya'll go read the rest. Though riddled with typos, it's quite good. Unlike many articles we read, there is some great, new off--the-cuff stuff here! Thanks to Californian (wrongly assumed Tennessee in initial post -- oops!) and Dean National Cindy Hopp for the link. Excerpts:
Presidential candidate Howard Dean casts himself, plausibly, in the role of Harry Truman.

Last week, Howard Dean of Vermont, a onetime dark-horse presidential candidate who is suddenly -- to political insiders almost inexplicably -- leading the pack of Democratic candidates, undertook a ten-city, three-day flyaround of America. [...]

"George Bush graduated from Yale in '68. I graduated in 1971," remembered his fellow Eastern patrician aboard the campaign plane. "There was a total generatonal shift. The Yale he left was gone by the time I graduated. It was a coat-and-tie era, not particularly innovative. Very much heriditary. I was the only guy in my prep school who got in. The place was full of valedictorians and salutatorians from public schools."

The implication is that Dean got with the program in those quasi-revolutionary times -- and that Bush remained forever preppy.

But as recently as the late '90s, when both men were governors -- Dean of remote little Vermont, Bush of big and rowdy Texas -- there was the possibility of real overlap. "I actually liked him," Dean recalls. "I knew him well enough that I thought we could do business. And by Texas standards he was actually moderate. He tried to revise the incredibly archaic Texas tax system. He didn't succeed, but he actually tried. I was shocked at the way he acted when he became president. I really did think he was a compassionate conservative."

Dean, who admired President George H.W. Bush as much as he seems to deplore President George W. Bush, takes an almost Freudian view of what he sees as the son's slide backwards into reaction. "Most people think he is still a moderate. They don't realize how far to the right he's gone. He's not interested in being a good president; he's interested in some complicated psychological situation with regard to his father over being accepted, being reelected."

Whatever psychodrama he sees as responsible for Bush's mindset, Dean seems to have a genuine missionary zeal to expose the public consequences of it. As he put it to the crowd of several hundred that turned up for him at the Boise airport, "He [Bush] doesn't want to balance the budget, because he wants to defund the federal government and get rid of Medicare and Social security. We're not going to allow it."

Dean sees Bush as a pure dissembler. "He was never truthful about his reasons for going into Iraq. He toughed up the intelligence reports to justify it, but he knew better. If you know what you're saying isn't true, what is the truth? We went in with a reason. What is the reason? I don't know."
Wowsa, read the rest here...


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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.