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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 03, 2003


the perils of frontrunner-hood,2933,104697,00.html

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, December 03, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
this is a relatively minor issue, but it's worth pointing out. Transcripts are not 100% accurate- for example, from teh Hardball transcript, we have this exchange:

DEAN: I want accountability. What I really want is accountability. I don’t think it’s OK for ordinary people to invest in mutual funds and then find out that you’ve been cheated in the stock market. I don’t think rMD+IT_rMD-IT_it’s OK for Enron to steal ordinary working people’s pensions.

I'm not sure how rMD+IT_rMD-IT_ is supposed to be pronounced :) Keep this in mind when you hear the usual suspects - who defended Bush's utter ignorance of the name of the President of Pakistan when he was campaigning - get apopleptic about Dean;s supposed lack of foreign plicy expertise after this Hardball exchange:

DEAN: Iran is a more complex problem because the problem support as clearly verifiable as it is in North Korea. Also, we have less-fewer levers much the key, I believe, to Iran is pressure through the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is supplying much of the equipment that Iran, I believe, most likely is using to set itself along the path of developing nuclear weapons. We need to use that leverage with the Soviet Union and it may require us to buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately going to sell to Iran to prevent Iran from them developing nuclear weapons. That is also a country that must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons much the key to all this is foresight. Let’s act now so we don’t have to have a confrontation which may result in force, which would be very disastrous in the case of North Korea and might be disastrous in the case of Iran.

I've listened to the video and I thought Dean said "former" Soviet Union quite distinctly. He may have omitted the word former on other occassions during that exchange, but it was transparently obvious what he meant.

Welcome to front-runnerhood. Every mistake, every verbal slip, every hastily-delivered line will be used to extrapolate all manner of reasons why Dean can not be permitted to give the People what they so clearly want - a leader commited to America's interest, not the interest of a political party or ideological group.

And yes, it's unfair how Dean will be scrutinized and asked the hard questions, whereas back in 2000 Bush got lobbed softballs and never faced any kind of rigorous questioning (where was Chris Matthews when Bush's AWOL status from the National Guard was revealed by the Boston Globe?).

But that's just how it is. Complaining about media bias is a waste of time. Complaining is a waste of time. Dean - and Dean supporters - have to simply soldier on. This week was going to be rough because Hardball gave plenty of ammunition to Dean's critics looking for any angle of attack they can find. This was a much more significant television appearance - and the stakes are much higher - since its his first as the front-runner. And it will get worse.

Is there any doubt remaining that sealing his Governor records was wise?


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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.