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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, November 18, 2003


Dean = Goldwater?

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, November 18, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
I know that these comparsons get tiresome after a while, but there is some value in pursuing them. EJ Dionne makes a comparison that I hadn't seen before, drawing parallels to Barry Goldwater:

[Dean's] campaign is now a movement and his promise is to reorganize U.S. politics. On Wednesday Dean augmented his base of well-educated professionals and young activists with the endorsements of two of the country's most politically powerful unions -- the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. These unions don't take fliers on appealing underdogs like Babbitt. They like to certify winners.
This is the key to the Democratic race: Will Democrats decide that this year is about issues and electability, or will they choose instead to build a movement?

One Democrat captured a central reason for Dean's surge: "Many of Dean's people are more in love with the campaign than they are with the candidate." Trippi rejects this, noting that voters flocked to Dean before the effort became the high-tech wonder it is now. But Dean's visionary campaign manager himself lays heavy stress on the imperative of inspiring the same level of commitment on the Democratic side that is so obvious among conservative Republicans.

Trippi waxes eloquent on Dean's capacity to create a mass fundraising base that could challenge the Republican Party's vast treasury. He speaks of the "energy" Dean inspires at the grass roots. He talks of the campaign's appeal to younger voters who could lead a political realignment.
Goldwater and his legions built a mighty movement that changed the country and affects politics to this day. But in 1964 Goldwater was clobbered by Lyndon B. Johnson in a landslide felt all the way down the ballot.

Dean's challenge is to prove he can inspire a movement and still win the election.

This is a spot-on analysis. Dean's message hasn't just been about pulling a lever marked D, it's been about rescuing America from the partisanship that has deeply divided this country since the GOP embraced the politics of personal destruction against Clinton. And the simple fact that Dean is pulling conservatives and Republicans into his orbit is the mark of that promise - this is a campaign for America.


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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.