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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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Thursday, November 13, 2003


don't get cocky

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, November 13, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Howard Kurtz writes a good and timely warning to those of us who see yesterday's landmark endorsements in an overly triumphant light:

Dean is a slam dunk, a done deal, a shoo-in for the nomination.

That, at least, is the dominant buzz among the pundit class, which has all but written off the eight other contenders or relegated them to long-shot status. Turn on the television at any moment and the message is clear:

"If he wins the Iowa caucuses," Al Hunt declared on CNN's "Capital Gang," "he may indeed be unstoppable."

Brit Hume on "Fox News Sunday": "You look at the field, you can't figure out who can beat him."

Washington Times Editorial Page Editor Tony Blankley, on CNN's "Crossfire": "I think he's going to win, because he's too smart for them."

Carl Quintanilla, "NBC Nightly News": "The man to beat as New Hampshire approaches."

Newspapers have been more restrained, but not by much. The New York Times: "Howard Dean has erased questions about his staying power and forced his rivals to upend their strategies." The Washington Post: "Threatening to pull away from the pack." Chicago Tribune: "Many of his critics question whether Dean can be stopped."

Campaign manager Joe Trippi, mobbed by the press pack yesterday, refused to get carried away about the former Vermont governor's prospects. "We got to where we were because most of the field underestimated us," he said. "The last thing we're going to do is underestimate any of them."

Added communications director Tricia Enright from Burlington: "The important thing is to be careful about believing your own headlines. It's good for momentum and good not to be attacked for a few days . . . but we have a long way to go and so many things can happen between now and then."

Remember, there's a difference between knowing our candidate can win, and actually winning. To be brutally honest, I think that a lot of the buzz in the comment threads here and on the o-blog has been almost apathetic recently, as if the nomination was Dean's already and Super Tuesday remained a formality.

And there's a concrete example of this success-bred apathy - example, the amount of donations being made through the Dean Nation Team has dropped dramatically (we didn't meet our $5,000 goal for October and we likely won't make the difference up this month either). Remember that Dean warned that if we refuse federal matching funds, it will be up to us to make up the difference. We just walked away from $19 MILLION DOLLARS. Where do we think it will come from? We have to dig a little deeper and prove our commitment now, more than ever - because WE'RE the ones who made the decision. Did we come all this way to falter now?

We shall continue to do open threads and Backbone awards and fight the memes. But in the end the single most important thing we can do is contribute to the campaign - whether it be dollars or hours.

The best way to make that commitment is to become a Dean Rider, by making a monthly donation of $20. Or step up as a Dean Minuteman, and make a monthly commitment of $50. And don't forget to register for DeanLink and organize for Dean in your local neighborhood.

It's time to roll up our sleeves and get back to work. We have a long way to go yet.


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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.