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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


Impending SEIU endorsement: unity

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, November 06, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The SEIU will likely decide today whether to endorse Dean. A WaPo story from yesterday reveals the sheer desperation of the other campaigns, as they scramble to come to grips with the impending reality:

Presidential rivals John Edwards, Dick Gephardt and John Kerry have found a common foe to unite them: Howard Dean. In a rare alliance, the three campaigns are working to deny the fellow Democratic candidate an endorsement from the Service Employees International Union, the largest in the AFL-CIO with 1.6 million members.

The SEIU announced last week that its 63-member board would decide Thursday whether to back Dean, a former Vermont governor, or table the endorsement altogether.

"It's Dean or no one," said SEIU spokeswoman Sara Howard.

That announcement prompted top aides to Edwards, Gephardt and Kerry to convene a conference call during which they discussed whether Dean's endorsement could be blocked.

Comparing intelligence from their sources inside the union, the Edwards, Gephardt and Kerry campaigns determined that they still had an outside chance to stop Dean, according to senior officials with the three campaigns.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, differed on minor details such as how long last week's call lasted and what day it was placed. One official said it lasted 12 minutes; another said it was much longer.

They confirmed, however, that the strategists agreed that each campaign should call anybody who might help stop the endorsement. They denied any effort to coordinate the calls or messages, noting that each of the three candidates has a different constituency and appeal inside the union.

SEIU board members have been besieged by calls from the three campaigns, according to union officials.

The latest meme is that Dean, even if he wins the nomination, will be unable to unite Democrats behind him. The lie is doubly transparent, given that Dean is indeed already uniting the party inexorably, endorsement by endorsement.

But Dean has also said, publicly, during debates, that he would unqualifiedly support any of the other Dems if he loses the nod. I think we need to challenge the other candidates to explicitly state their support for Dean should he win the nomination. Dean needs to take the offensive on the unity issue and ask this question of the other contenders, especially those plotting in unison against him.


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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.