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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 21, 2003


The Split Ends

posted by Trammell at Sunday, September 21, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Josh Marshall, Beltway Typing Head and Talking Points Memo maven has joined DC's hottest new band: The Split Ends. To wit:
Dean's political draw today seems to be the fact that he didn't allow himself to be fooled by arguments about Iraq's WMD. Thus this line Thursday at a speech to the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce in New Hampshire ...
The most important piece of foreign policy is judgment. The other four fellas who supported the (Iraq war) resolution all now say they were misled by the White House. If you were misled by the president and you were in Washington, what kind of experience is that if I could have figured it out in Vermont.
But what about what Dean said on Face The Nation a couple weeks before the war resolution vote, when asked what the president would have to do to prove that there was an immediate threat justifying war ...
I don't think he really has to prove anything. I think that most Americans, including myself, will take the president's word for it. But the president has never said that Saddam has the capability of striking the United States with atomic or biological weapons any time in the immediate future.
More important, what about this whole issue of conditional or contingent support for war? A number of Dean's opponents in the Democratic primaries said at the time -- and still do now -- that they weren't opposed to war under all circumstances. Their position was that if it were going to be done it had to be done in a multilateral fashion, with allies, and so forth -- you know the drill. Dean is now getting credit on the campaign trail for avoiding that kind of shilly-shallying and just arguing that the war was a bad idea in any case.
Call me crazy, but if you can navigate the labyrinthine split ends of these hairs and their attached, selective quotes, please let me know. You see, trouble is, Josh knows better -- is he actually trying to say that Dean has been, in some way, unclear on his opposition to the war? Please. For more about Josh on Dean, check out the comments on this thread over at Billmon's Whiskey Bar.

San Francisco for Dean's Paul Hogan, who has recently joined the emerging blog team over at Points West, writes in his new Sunday Victuals column at PW about Marshall's reaction to a letter from a Dean supporter critical of the above:
Today he is shocked, shocked, that he received a testy response from one of Gov. Dean's unwashed grassroots supporters. So shocked, in fact, that he posts the email and responds:
There is an awfully distressing tendency among a minority of Dean supporters to serve up no end of lacerating comments about other candidates and then to react with a sort of stunned and outraged shock when anyone criticizes their guy
Um, Josh, aren't you reacting with a sort of stunned and outraged shock when someone criticized you?

But I digress. We here at Points West would like ease Josh's distress and help educate him about the rough and tumble world of presidential primary politics. In that spirit I think it might be a nice gesture if everyone could forward to Josh at nice examples of the hatemail and/or attack comments you have read from the wingnuts, fanatics and boors who don't like their guy being criticized. Clearly Josh thinks that Dean supporters are exceptional and he badly needs to hear from you.
Trust me, there is not one candidate in this race who lacks a whacky/zealous supporter or two-hundred -- you should see the notes we get at Dean Nation! You can check out the rest of Paul's column here -- there is an especially fun item regarding the recent spate of attacks on Dean by Gephardt and others. Enjoy!


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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.