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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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Monday, November 03, 2003


Wall Street Journal in Defense of Dean

posted by Heath at Monday, November 03, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
You know Governor Dean can attract the support of moderate Republicans if the editorial board at The Wall St. Journal can give him a boost like this from today's issue:
Confederacy of Dunces
Credit Howard Dean for running a shrewd campaign, but one reason he's leading the Democratic Presidential sweepstakes is because his opponents don't seem to understand his appeal. Look no further than this weekend's flap over Dr. Dean's alleged embrace of the Confederate flag.

The former Vermont Governor was quoted in Saturday's Des Moines Register as saying that "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks" and appeal to "a broad cross-section of Democrats." His rivals immediately jumped on the remark as a sign that Dr. Dean was somehow soft on civil rights. "It is simply unconscionable for Howard Dean to embrace the most racially divisive symbol in America," said John Kerry.

Democrats usually smear Republicans with this kind of race-baiting politics, but it isn't any more justified when Democrats use it against on of their own. Dr. Dean is hardly sympathetic to the Confederacy, or Jim Crow, or apartheid or any other kind of racial discrimination. he was merely saying he'd like to win the support of Southerners who over the years have fled the Democratic Party represented by the Kerrys and the Dick Gephardts.

One reason those and so may other voters have left is precisely because of the kind of litmus-test, interest-group gotcha! politics that this racial pandering represents. Yet Dr. Dean's opponents continue to attack him for violating liberal taboos on guns, Medicare, trade and now civil rights. No wonder Democratic voters find him refreshing.
PS: The title of the editorial comes from a great, funny book by John Kennedy Toole (Thanks to David Krewinghaus of Minneapolis, MN for the scoop. Crossposted at


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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.