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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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Wednesday, December 31, 2003



posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, December 31, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The Heathers post continues to draw attention from the blogsphere. Regular readers know that the bloggers at Dean Nation are not a monolithic bloc. That is by design. Dana has been a strong and clear voice for what I like to call the conscience of the grassroots - an unflinchingly liberal voice who sees great hope for the first time in 3 years. I respect his opinion even when I disagree and I'd rather shut this blog down than censor the viewpoints of my fellow bloggers here.

Being a cheerleader is necessary. We need more of them. It's not through aloof debate that this election will be won - it's through passion and commitment. What will undermine that effort is the tendency to treat the raw enthusiasm that drives many Dean supporters as some kind of crude and unsophisticated impulse, as if admitting and glorifying your bias somehow leaves you tainted. This is a form of condescension that is on display in the response to Dana's post that I find chilling. A perfect example:

It's a decentralized campaign. That means that Dean supporters have a responsiblility to write persuasive, intelligent things promoting a candidate.
This (as well as some commenters on Kos, as well as some other Dean-blogs) make me ashamed of being a Dean supporter.

He's ashamed of being a Dean supporter? Actually ashamed, as in "refuse to display my bumper sticker for fear of being jeered at in the streets" ashamed? And it's not enough now that we support Dean. Now we have to express that support solely in the form of "persuasive, intelligent" commentary. Presumably "Go Dean!" fails the erudition test. The High Council is now accepting applications for Dean-advocacy permits.

Do Dean supporters cross the line sometimes? Yes, passion isn't as tidy as lofty intellectual detachment. Do Dean supporters have a victim complex? Well, yes, but maybe if Gore supporters had more of a victim complex in 2000 he wouldn't have been gored.


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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.