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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 11, 2003


Fixing Mistakes

posted by Dana at Tuesday, November 11, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Ask not what your candidate can do for you. Ask what you can do for your candidate.

Howard Dean is not God. He is not Superman. He is not perfect. He is just a man, a good man, a smart man, a man who will make mistakes, and the man we want to make President of the United States.

So when he seems to make a gaffe, and his opponents pile-on, there is something you can do about it.

You can answer back. You can set the record straight. You can talk to your neighbors, write local editors, make some phone calls, get out in the market with your Dean button and talk to people.

That is what makes this campaign different than anything that has come before, as Glen Johnson notes today in The Boston Globe. We've been talking here for days now about "I am Howard Dean," but I really am. And you are, too.

As Johnson notes, "While traditional campaigns such as Kerry's have a pyramid-shaped structure running from the campaign manager on down, Dean's campaign is more comparable to concentric circles, with independent spheres across the country overlapping with Dean and the senior staff at headquarters in Burlington, Vermont." It is, he writes, a new paradigm of politics.

And so it is.

Look, folks, we know what Dean meant about the Confederate flag. It has been part of his stump speech for months. Those of us who support Dean in the South know about the flaggers, how they captured the Republican Party here, how they made the KKK flag a code word that swept white, male GOP candidates to victory with virtually no black support.

Dean doesn't have to answer this alone. He will do his best, but it is not just his burden. It's ours.

This is going to happen again-and-again. There are literally thousands of reporters and bloggers, radio airheads and TV demagogues, who are going to take apart what Dean has said, turn it on its head, and pretend that's the reality.

It's best we realize now just who must be responsible for speaking truth to this power. Dean will do his best, Joe Trippi will do his best, Zephyr, Kate, Matt and the rest will do everything they can. But in the end, this campaign belongs to us.

We have the power. And with that comes responsibility.


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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.