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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

 

Half-way To Wisdom http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?pt=uPrIwAEG7fHpGFSjMCq7tR==

posted by Dana at Thursday, November 06, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
In a lengthy profile of campaign manager Joe Trippi today, Norm Scheiber of The New Republic (the unofficial journal of the Washington Democrats) gets half-way to wisdom about this campaign.

He has his facts straight. He has Joe's biography right. He even seems to "get" Meetup. But to Scheiber it's something of a dirty trick, like the way Joe hijacked Cranston buses for Mondale "back in the day," or used lemonade stands to win a hunk of northeast Texas for Ted Kennedy back in 1980.

Joe tried hard to tell Scheiber the secret. He even pointed to the DeanLink page of supporter Jonathan Kreiss Tompkins of Alaska, who is linked in turn to 463 other Dean supporters.

"What I'm trying to say is ... all these people have linked themselves to this guy--and it keeps going, dude." Trippi pauses and looks up. "Now here's the really cool thing: Jonathan Kreiss Tompkins is fourteen years old."

Unfortunately the light bulb still doesn't go off in Scheiber's head. Instead he writes, "if you find yourself enough Jonathan Kreiss Tompkinses, pretty soon you've won yourself the nomination."

Well, yeah, but here's the rest of the story. On the ground, there in Alaska, Jonathan is the campaign. He's Joe Trippi. Jonathan is running the campaign, his own campaign. I'm Joe Trippi, too, running this campaign my way. So is Anna Brosovic. So is Aziz Hatim Poonawalla.

So are you.

Joe didn't write this. I did. Joe didn't write the item below this. Aziz did. Joe doesn't know if we're "on message" or not. He trusts us.

And we're just the tip of the iceberg.

There are literally tens of thousands of people around the country who aren't just attached to the campaign, who aren't just giving money to the campaign, but who are the campaign, who are setting the strategy, who are engineering the tactics. Sure, we like Burlington's help. Sure, we like all those neat tools. We use them.

But we are the campaign, not the people in Burlington. Our hearts, our minds, our hands, we're doing the work.

How? Why? Because Joe Trippi let go. Joe Trippi let us do the work. Joe Trippi didn't say "stop" when Matt Singer set up the DeanDefense Force. He didn't say anything about the messages put out by the state blogs, the regional blogs, the city blogs, or anything else.

Joe let it go. Joe gave up the iron control of medium, message and messenger every other campaign has demanded of its troops for a century.

Why? Because Joe had a hunch that the American people could be trusted with their own political system.

This is the essence of the Howard Dean message. When he says, "You have the power," we don't have to believe it. The proof is there in front of us, in the crowds, in the activism we have created. Joe Trippi didn't put 15,000 people into Seattle during the "Sleepless Summer Tour." We did. Joe just let us do it.

Scheiber's article concludes, "Surely someone somewhere in the White House has had the exact same thought."

Only in their nightmares.


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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.