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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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Tuesday, December 30, 2003


A letter to Joshua Marshall

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, December 30, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Josh Marshall takes issue with Dean's factual statement that we supporters are not robots whose loytalties will be transferable upon command:

The price of admission to the Democratic primary race is a pledge of committed support to whomever wins the nomination, period. (The sense of entitlement to other Democrats' support comes after you win the nomination, not before.) If Dean can't sign on that dotted-line, he has no business asking for the party's nomination.

In response, I emailed Josh Marshall the following:


I'm sure you recall that during the 2000 election, Gore was consistently held to a higher standard than Bush by the media and the punditocracy.

I think you're somewhat guilty of the same thing here - note that Dean is the ONLY candidate who has said he would explicitly endorse the Democratic nominee, whoever that may be.

Contrast that explicit statement with the fact that none of the other candidates have agreed that they will endorse Dean if he wins. Worse, when asked if they thought Dean was "electable", none raised their hands at the last debate.

Kerry's entire campaign platform is "Dean is bad for the country." Don't you find such Anybody-But-Dean rhetoric disquieting, and egregiously hypocritical when the basic complaint against Dean's remarks is that it isn't sufficiently dedicated to Anybody-But-Bush? Will you or other political analysts hold Kerry accountable for his statements, which are pound for pound far worse and far more damaging to the prospects of electing a Democrat in 2004?

Dean's statement was factual. He will endorse the nominee, but don't expect Dean's supporters to follow. The whole point of supporting Dean is that we choose to do so - we are not automatons like Bush's support base who can be instructed from central command.

Understand that we support Dean because he offers - in our view - the best chance for victory in line with liberal principles. What use is a Democrat who kowtows to Republicans in the general election? Will Kerry or Gephardt stand up for us against Bush the way Dean has, or will they seek to out-Bush Bush? The vote to support the war on Iraq is a true bellweather of their commitment to doing what is right versus what is politically expedient, and there is real doubt that any of the others have the will to fight the election battle on terms that we believe are essential to victory.

(Note that I won't post his reply unless he gives me permission). Also see Atrios's thoughts on this.


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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.