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Sunday, September 21, 2003


Why isn't Trippi sweating Clark?

posted by G at Sunday, September 21, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
From the New Republic:
So who does [Clark] help? Well, assuming Dean is still the de facto front-runner, and that the rest of the major candidates, including Clark, are pretty much just vying for the anti-Dean slot in the race, then one possibility is that Dean benefits. That is, the non-Clark candidate (remember, Clark's almost certainly not going to win) who ends up filling the role of non-Dean will almost certainly arrive in that role weaker than he would have been without Clark in the race. (Since Clark sucks up support and money and media attention...)

The other possibility is that Dick Gephardt benefits. As we've already mentioned, Clark undermines part of the case for Kerry and Edwards. As an apparent cultural moderate with impeccable national security credentials, he also partially undermines the case for Joe Lieberman. It's Gephardt whose rationale for running seems most different from Clark's--he's a lifelong insider, whereas Clark will probably claim the outsider mantle. And, among Democrats, he's probably most closely associated with the war, having essentially given George W. Bush the cover he needed on the issue. Geographically, too, Gephardt seems to be most immune to Clark. The one early contest he has to win, Iowa, is the one race Clark is least likely to contest. (New Hampshire, on the other hand, has shown itself to be pretty amenable to unorthodox insurgent-types over the years.)

In the end, though, this too could help Howard Dean. That's because Gephardt seems to be the non-Dean/establishment candidate Dean best matches up against, should the nomination come down to a one-on-one faceoff. Gephardt is exactly the kind of special-interest, inside-the-beltway stiff the Dean campaign has been engineered to beat.

Which, come to think of it, is maybe why Joe Trippi has been the lone major-campaign operative not to seem especially worried about Clark these last few days.


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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.