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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, October 27, 2003


The Conscience of an (ex-)Conservative

posted by Heath at Monday, October 27, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
When this article by Washington state-based writer Philip Gold first came out during the pre-TIME/Newsweek cover days of Howard Dean, it struck me as courageous. After all, the whisper at the time was that it was unpatriotic--if not treasonous--to question the actions or motives of the Bush administration. This guy was actually turning his back on a life time of work for the conservative movement!

Originally published in the Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics, Gold leads his article with this:

Leaving an organization can be hard. Leaving a movement, harder. And leaving an idea — unless you realize that the movement has deserted the idea, and that it’s time to say so — traumatic.

Given the deep interest some conservatives seem to have in the Dean Movement (as indicated by the many inquiring minds visiting this site), Gold's reasoning could be helpful to some of the more disillusioned Republicans who pulled the lever for Bush in 2000 but feel like they got something they didn't bargain for. Gold did a lifetime of research and came up with the conclusion that,

For all the blather about the “war of ideas,” 20th-century conservatism produced virtually nothing of lasting value.

Many of our friends turned Republican for Bush in 2000 because they thought he was a regular guy that would "restore integrity" to the White House. Turns out Bush sadly is a regular guy with a White House that wants to restore their version of integrity to the world. At least, those neo-conservatives who are in charge of his White House do.

Say's Gold,

After 30 years, I realized why. Deep down, these people — these people who can be so gracious and so decent in their personal lives — believe that they’ve been deprived of their proper place at the center of the universe. Deep down, they know that, were the world right, everyone would be like them, or at least aspire, or pretend to aspire, to be like them.

Sounds familiar doesn't it?

(Cross-posted at


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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.