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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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Monday, September 22, 2003


pundits and Kool Aid

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, September 22, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
All veep speculation aside, we Dean supporters do have a challenge to face with respect to Clark's candidacy: the "resume" meme. Eric Alterman gives a perfect example of a pundit fascinated by Clark's curriculum vitae :

So Clark is in. Everybody I’ve spoken with in the past few weeks figures that if he turns out to be a decent candidate, he’s definitely the guy with the best chance to save this country from the catastrophe that is Mr. Bush. That’s a big if, I know, but here’s my question. What are you Deanies gonna do? Let’s all admit that, in the abstract, a decorated general, Southerner, and Rhodes Scholar has a better chance to be elected president of the United States during an age of terrorism than the governor of a hippie state, born and raised in upper-class Manhattan (and with a Jewish wife and kids to boot), who has no military or foreign policy experience.

Of course, its had to argue with the implicitexplicit assumption that it is now only a question of Clark or Dean (though I still give Edwards a chance). After all, Alterman isn't posing his question to Gephardt's or Kerry's fans.

But there's zero reason to accept the reductio ad absurdum thesis that Clark makes all other candidacies irrelevant. For one thing, Alterman completely ignores the importance of the grassroots support - which stands at over 400,000 on email, over 100,000 on meetup, and over $10,000,000 raised in small contributions eligible for federal matching funds. Can Clark inspire the base? Can Clark motivate new voters? Can Clark increase voter participation, run an inclusive campaign, and assemble a broad coalition across party lines and ideologies?

well, I hope so. But he hasn't proven it yet. Until then, Dean fans have every right to back the guy who has all these key elements in place. Thats how you beat Bush - it takes more than a resume.


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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.