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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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Tuesday, September 02, 2003


Saletan on Dean vs. Kerry

posted by G at Tuesday, September 02, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The notion that Kerry is just now kicking off his campaign is a well-understood joke. He's been running for more than a year. I've heard and read about his war record many times. Yet I still stare incredulously every time he talks about it. I can't get a rude but persistent question out of my mind: Can you believe this guy fought in Vietnam?

He did, of course. He's the only candidate in this race who did. He earned the Silver Star and Bronze Star and was wounded three times. ... I look at him and wonder how such a brave warrior became such a cautious politician.

Lately, I've thought about Kerry's service when I watch Howard Dean, the candidate Kerry is trying to overtake. Now, there's a guy who looks like he fought in Vietnam. Dean's words always seem to be holding back an inferno of anger. John McCain was the same way. Kerry is the opposite: He claims to be angry, but you look at him and can't believe it. His body doesn't live up to his words. When Kerry disagrees with you, he make you feel as though the disagreement is his problem. When Dean disagrees with you, he makes you feel as though it's your problem. I know Kerry fought and Dean didn't. But it's still hard to believe.

Take the test yourself. Call up a friend who hasn't been following the campaign and knows nothing about the candidates. Have your friend watch five minutes of Dean speaking and five minutes of Kerry speaking. Then ask your friend which guy fought in Vietnam. Unless Kerry mentions his war record, I'll bet your friend picks Dean.


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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.