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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, November 30, 2003


The Battle

posted by Dana at Sunday, November 30, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Politics is war by peaceful means. But it is war. It is a struggle for power. In the case of the U.S. Presidency it is a struggle for ultimate power, the greatest source of political power and legitimacy the world has ever known.

Let there be no mistake. Bush will have far more money than we do. He will have the power of incumbency to shape events as he likes. He claims, already, to have 10 times the troops in the field that we do. He and his Congress will spend like drunken sailors. He has the media, he has the political establishment, and surveys show him with an approval rating over 50 – a magic number because Presidents above that usually win, those below that usually lose.

The best honest surveys show Howard Dean to be about six points behind. We have perhaps 8 months to enroll millions of new voters, knowing Bush will have all the money in the world to do the same. We know we must bring millions more new people to this process, knowing the RNC will also do the same.

They will try to frighten us. They will use (and abuse) memories of 9/11. They will push yet more billions into the financial system, hoping that a temporary return of a portion of the 3 million jobs lost will make us all forget ourselves. They will call us traitors, repeatedly.

Might some act on that belief?

I do not know, but I put nothing past this Administration. In my opinion, and the opinion of many others, this is the most ruthless, most corrupt Administration in America’s history. An enormous effort will be required to defeat it, an effort the likes of which this country has never seen before.

What are we going to do about it?

A week before the election, on October 25, will come the feast of St. Crispin. He was a French saint, the patron of shoemakers and perhaps (one might say) of shoe leather. (I’d nominate him as patron saint of mousepads as well.)

This is fitting. It will take enormous quantities of shoe leather to overcome the money, manipulation, and arrogance of this Administration, an Administration that has seized power the American people did not give it, to steal from the poor, to conduct war unilaterally, and to try and make freedom conditional on blind obedience.

St. Crispin’s Day is better-known, however, for a Shakespearean speech, in Henry V. Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation was just shown here on cable, and it is a call to arms, to struggle, and to victory. It’s worth reading again:

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Let every day, from now until November 2, 2004 be St. Crispin’s day. And let us fight, as they fought in truth, and as Shakespeare had them fight on stage, as though our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor were at stake.

For so they are.


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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.