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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, October 14, 2003


Dean Stops Dean?

posted by Trammell at Tuesday, October 14, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
My, what a difference a few months makes....Slate's William Saletan on Dean:
All year, Howard Dean has been gaining ground in the Democratic presidential race. And all year, Democratic centrists have been scrambling for a candidate to stop him. He's too liberal, they said. He's soft on defense, a Vermont lefty, an evangelist for expansive programs. To stop him, they turned to Joe Lieberman, then John Kerry, then Wes Clark. But the more Dean's rivals expose his record, the more I suspect that the centrist who's going to spare Democrats this left-wing nightmare isn't any of these guys. It's Howard Dean.
Perhaps all these attacks from Dean's "left" by Gephardt and Kerry and from the "right" by Lieberman are showing Dean for what he really is -- a progressive centrist:
For a while, I worried that Dean was a protectionist. Then Gephardt relieved me of that impression, pointing out on Sept. 14 that Dean had declared himself "a very strong supporter of NAFTA." On Sept. 25, in the third fall debate, Dean was forced to admit that he had advised President Clinton to admit China to the World Trade Organization on "national security" grounds, betraying competence in both economics and foreign policy.
Who'd a thunk that Newt Gingrich would help Dean look electable, and that Gephardt would accidentally spotlight himself as a pandering, totally out of touch DC insider?
Worse, according to Gephardt, Dean actually proposed to reform federal programs he thought weren't working. In 1992, Dean accused Medicare of "mismanagement." In 1995, he met with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and expressed interest in Gingrich's proposal to limit the growth of Medicaid "because [the proposal] would free the states from many federal mandates, allowing them the freedom to better manage health care costs." In a shameful pact with the radical right, Dean endorsed the Republican push for "decentralization, more block grants, but not total freedom for the states."
And you betcha, those same right wingers who called Dean an unelectable liberal in one breath, and then would state that he was a centrist who would be abandoned by his base once we "found him out" in the next, have proven themselves to be gosh-darned prophetic! Right?
You can imagine how angry I am, as a swing voter, to find out these horrible things about Dean. My hands are trembling so violently, I can barely write his name on the check.
Yup, those swing voters...weren't they supposed to line up for someone else -- like -- ahem -- all those "establishment" "STOP DEAN" candidates? My, what a difference a few months makes....


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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.