Nation-Building >> Takeover of The Heart | return to front page

"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

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to netvibes

website stats

Previous Posts
Netflix, Inc.
ThinkGeek T-Shirts will make you cool!
illy coffee - 2 cans, 2 mugs for just $26.

Thursday, December 18, 2003


Takeover of The Heart

posted by Trammell at Thursday, December 18, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Lost in the Shuffle of THE CAPTURE was this interesting piece from Sunday's WaPo by Everett Erlich. I don't agree with all of it, but the basic premise is that the economy of cheap information via the internet is changing politics for good -- a fact that we know all too well. But get this:
For all Dean's talk about wanting to represent the truly "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," the paradox is that he is essentially a third-party candidate using modern technology to achieve a takeover of the Democratic Party. Other candidates -- John Kerry, John Edwards, Wesley Clark -- are competing to take control of the party's fundraising, organizational and media operations. But Dean is not interested in taking control of those depreciating assets.
Okay, here he is at best half right. Dean has been a Democrat forever, it's not as if he just joined! Perhaps he is running as a reformer from beyond the beltway, but most Governors that become nominees do just that -- typically, the only candidates that get the nod otherwise are Veeps, former Veeps or Presidents. Nor would it be the first time that a little-known reformer took over the structures of a political party. Teddy Roosevelt comes to mind, as does Jimmy Carter. Neither had cheap information economies, and both became President.
He is creating his own party, his own lists, his own money, his own organization. What he wants are the Democratic brand name and legacy, the party's last remaining assets of value, as part of his marketing strategy. Perhaps that's why former vice president Al Gore's endorsement of Dean last week felt so strange -- less like the traditional benediction of a fellow member of the party "club" than a senior executive welcoming the successful leveraged buyout specialist. And if Dean can do it this time around, so can others in future campaigns.
Now, this is a good read and all, but if that's true, why were two of the biggest events in the campaign getting SEIU and AFCSME and the Gore endorsement? Mind you, Dean's outsider status is what got us where we are -- but getting the big guns of the party are resources one can't toss aside as lightly as Erlich.

But here is where he is correct: many of the assets of the Democratic Party were rapidly depreciating, and Dean is bringing valuable organizationl assets of his own to the table. However, Dean is not doing a "takeover" of the Party, any more than he is he "leading it into the wilderness" or trying to "destroy" it. This is his party and he loves this party -- what he's attempting to do is save the party, and it seems to me that he's doing a damn good job. Read the rest of the article, though, as it has some interesting thoughts on other matters besides Dean.


Post a Comment


View blog top tags
The Assault on Reason

Obama 2008 - I want my country back

I want my country back - Obama 2008

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.