Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Help Them Take Their Party Back
Our response has always been to call that tactic "Bush-Lite." That should win the nomination. But the goal is to win next November.
The critics are right about one thing. To win next November we need some of the other side's voters to switch. But Dean (unlike the other Democrats) doesn't need to change his stand on any issues to do this. There are, in fact, three large groups of Republicans who are growing increasingly angry with Bush, who quietly agree with Dean on important issues, and who would very much like to Take Their Own Party Back from its extremists.
- Deficit Hawks are angry over Bushs' cut-and-spend policies. For many the Medicare bill was the last straw. They want their party back from Grover Norquist and his "starve-the-beast" ideology.
- Military families see Iraq as a bad tactic. They see Al Qaeda gaining support, see liberation becoming occupation, and see America's military losing readiness. They want their country back from Paul Wolfowitz' "neo-con" ideology.
- Libertarians worry about both the Patriot Act and the Christian social agenda. They may care about guns, but not God and gays. They want their party back from Pat Robertson and his "Christian Coalition" ideology.
Dean has the right message and the right record for all these Republicans. He has stood up to liberals in Vermont and balanced budgets. He wants to "de-Americanize" the Iraqi conflict, concentrate on Afghanistan and Arabia, and re-build American readiness. He wants the state to stop making religious choices, or at least give those questions back to the states.
These stands are more Republican than those of George Bush. Millions of Republicans are quietly seething over the sell-out of their principles to small groups of ideologues. They want their party back.
All we must do, over the next 11 months, is convince a minority of them that a loss to Dean would not be a disaster, because Dean is on their side concerning issues important to them. Each active Republican who switches counts twice, because it's a vote for us and one less vote for them.
Remember. They want their party back. And it's their country too. That, not "Bush-Lite," is the path to victory.
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Obama 2008 - I want my country back
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.