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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 06, 2003


A few more voices...

posted by Amanda at Thursday, November 06, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
While I heartily endorse moving on -- and the rumors about the SEIU and maybe AFSCME endorsements are certainly helping *me* move on ;-) ... I just wanted to highlight some interesting commentary out there in Webland...

First, Liberal Oasis notes Dean's Apology but argues that Dean's strategy on race issues is "no longer an option" (which strikes me as odd).

[Dean's strategy] was novel, daring and risky, but rooted in something basic: hate the sin, love the sinner. Signal to these white voters that you are not going to personally attack them over differences on cultural issues. Then, make the economic case for voting Democratic. And just maybe, if that common ground can be found between blacks and whites on economics, then over time, the hot-button divisions can be defused, for the good of the party and the nation. Furthermore, Dean chose not to attack black leaders to win white support. He chose a more inclusive (some might say, too inclusive) to reach out to some who have insensitive and/or racist views.

I guess I don't buy that just because he started out in a "clumsy" fashion or bungled things a bit, his strategy is therefore DOA. I have faith that the campaign can regroup, maybe tweak the original strategy, but stick with the original idea of building that "Bobby Kennedy" coalition.

Anyway, LO goes on to challenge the rest of the Democratic field to do what Dean has been doing for months (talking frankly and consistantly about race and coming up with a viable strategy to build a multi-racial coalition), basically to put up or shut up:

Dem candidates, if Dean was out of line, and if electability is the name of the game. Then what’s your plan to build the needed black-white coalition? How can you appeal to both constituencies without alienating one or the other? And what’s the evidence that you can pull it off? Just like anything else, if you’re going to attack someone else’s plan, you have the obligation to say what you would do differently. And for the party’s sake, we need a good answer.

Second, in today's Los Angeles Times, civil rights attorney Constance Rice urges: Stand Firm, Howard Dean.

Howard Dean wants to represent angry white Confederate flag-wavers. He even quotes Martin Luther King Jr. in doing so. And in a televised debate Tuesday he refused to say he was sorry for starting this tempest.

Well, Dr. Dean, you may have clumsily launched this issue, but keep at it and keep quoting, because you're right.


My point here is move on. This family feud about a symbol is not resolvable at this time. But more important, we don't have to resolve it to get to the more important mission of rescuing this country from the merry band of corporatists and robber barons at its helm right now.

So, Dr. Dean, get the interracial sophistication that's needed to carry out Dr. King's vision of the grand alliance, and get it quickly. As much of a minefield as it presents, talking about the Confederate flag, poverty and race is crucial for our country's future as a multiracial democracy.

Go for it. And you don't need to apologize.

Couldn't have said it better myself...

UPDATE: In comments, Liberal Oasis clarifies the above post.

Just to clarify, LiberalOasis was arguing that the "tactic" (using the confederate line) was no longer an option. The strategy still is, but how Dean, or anyone else does it is an open question.

My bad. Thanks for clarifying, LO.


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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.