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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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Saturday, November 08, 2003


The tea is in the harbor

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, November 08, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
BURLINGTON-In a ceremony here today, Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D., announced that, following an overwhelming vote by supporters over the last two days, Dean for America would not accept public matching funds.

"Today by an 85-15 margin the people who made this campaign have voted to decline public financing. We support public financing, but the unabashed actions of this president to thwart our democratic processes with a flood of special interests money have us forced to abandon a broken system," Governor Dean said.

"Our campaign has not been talk of campaign finance reform, it has been actual reform. Over 200,000 people have given an average of $77 to bring us here and they have now overwhelmingly refused to be intimidated by George Bush and his cronies," Dean added.

In 2000, then-Governor Bush opted out of the public financing system, raising and spending more than $100 million in the primaries. This election, he has decided to opt out of the system again and is widely expected to raise $200 million for a primary where he has no opponent.

Today, Dean-joined onstage at the University of Vermont by seven grassroots leaders from across the country-announced the decision and then proceeded to sign a declaration of independence announcing that the campaign would be "free and independent of special interests."

During the two-day vote, supporters of the campaign pledged or contributed over $5.3 million with an average contribution or pledge of $116.89. Of the 104,746 supporters who voted, 85 percent, or 89,533 Americans, voted to forego federal matching funds-meaning a turnout of over 20 percent. In the only other large-scale Internet vote, the two-day primary over the summer, 22 percent of the 1.4 million eligible members participated. In contrast to the campaign's vote, which was only announced Wednesday morning-less than 72 hours before polls and the campaigns involved had more than two weeks of intense get-out-the vote efforts leading up to its primary.

"[This campaign] has begun to reconnect the bonds between citizens, establish a new communication between citizens and their elected officials, and taken a large step in winning back our government so that it works not for the profit of the few but the benefit of the many. Thomas Jefferson wrote two centuries ago that, 'Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights,'" Governor Dean said.

"So with this campaign, we hope to attract the notice of the people of the United States and we trust that, just as they always have done in the past, they will set things right. We have just begun. This decision means that we have many challenges ahead of us. We must expand this campaign from hundreds of thousand to tens of million," Dean concluded.

Earlier this week, the campaign sent over 600,000 ballots to supporters, and asked them to decide whether the campaign should decline public financing or accept federal matching funds. The ballots, which went out to supporters by email, first class mail, and telephone, allowed them to vote once using a unique code. Voting ended last night at midnight.

Click the link to read a sampling of comments left by people who voted. Those alone put the lie to the claims of the other candidates that dean used the vote as a fig leaf.


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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.