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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 07, 2003


Dean's Gun Stance Draws Rep. Kennedy's Ire

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, October 07, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Dean just isn't lefty enough:

Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.) scolded Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean for his friendly relations with the National Rifle Association during a Capitol Hill rally last week to drum up support for renewal -- and strengthening -- of the federal ban on assault weapons.

While other speakers stuck to the subject of assault weapons, Kennedy assailed Dean, saying he was "saddened" that one of his party's leading presidential candidates is "pro-NRA." He suggested that Dean has "compromised his principles" as a physician by opposing stronger federal gun controls.

Kennedy has endorsed Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.) and campaigned on his behalf. But Kennedy told a reporter after his remarks that he had not discussed with Gephardt his plans to attack Dean on gun control.

"This is a personal issue with me, and I'm very disturbed at the fact that people are not paying attention to Dr. Dean's record" on guns, said Kennedy, nephew of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, both of whom were assassinated by guns.

More proof of Dean's electability! After all, gun control cost Gore key states. Viewpoints like Kennedy's are simply out of tune with reality. For once, the NRO Corner has an insightful comment in response:

Who knew that Lee Harvey and Sirhan-Sirhan were both inanimate objects?

As Glenn Reynolds notes, Dean's position on gun control is a winning one:

HOWARD DEAN IS A POLITICAL GENIUS: While various people are snarking at Patrick Kennedy's condemnation of Dean's second amendment stance, they're missing the real story, which is that this is a masterstroke for Dean. This kind of thing won't hurt Dean's chances of getting the nomination, and being attacked by a Kennedy on gun control will be a big plus in the general election if Dean gets the nomination. Democrats will vote for him anyway, and it'll help him with the many moderates put off by the gun-prohibitionist mindset of the Democratic Party.

This is important - because, as noted by Glenn in a separate post - Libertarian disenchantment with the GOP is a real issue, and one that Dean alone out of the field of Democratic candidates is poised to capitalize on.

For more on the potential for a Libertarian revolt in 2004, see Noah Schactman's analysis in the American Prospect:

Libertarians across the country are slowly beginning to question their Republican loyalties. And if they break with the GOP -- or even decide to sit out the 2004 election -- it could be as bad for George W. Bush as the alienation of the religious right was for his dad in 1992.

"When Bush won, I was very hopeful," says Stefanescu, who runs fellowship programs at the Institute for Humane Studies, a libertarian foundation. "He sounded like he was going to do some very libertarian things: a less interventionist approach [overseas], school choice, free trade. He says all the right things. He just didn't do them.

"Normally, I wouldn't consider it," she adds, "but if I had to vote today, I'd vote for [Howard] Dean."


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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.