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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, January 28, 2004


forget Kerry - it's domestic policy, stupid

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, January 28, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
There's all sorts of juicy things you could sink your teeth into about Kerry - like this telling anecdote from Chris Suellentrop in Slate:

In Manchester, Kerry gave a touching speech about the importance of veterans and of "keeping faith with those who wore the uniform." As soon as it was over, a woman stood up and said, I'm not a veteran. What are you going to do for the average person? At a firehouse in Hampton yesterday, a man told Kerry that he thinks it's unfair that people say a New Englander can't connect with people from varying backgrounds. And to prove that you can do it, he says, explain the importance of the icon on my hat. Kerry is mystified. "The Latin? The Ten?" he asks. Malcolm X, the man explains.

But the simple fact is that the race between Dean and Kerry is about Dean. We need to draw people to Dean first. Most of Kerry's support is relatively new, and part of the reason Dean lost support in Iowa was because he went negative. Let Clark (and Lehane) focus their fire on Kerry - but and emphasise that Dean not only knows what the X means, but he's got Jesse Jackson Jr. to vouch for it.

All those endorsements are garbage unless they are leveraged. We need simple commercials - Jesse Jackson Jr. Talking frankly about Dean and race, Gore talking frankly about Dean and Iraq - and Dean himself talking about what he has to offer, his success with Dr. Dynasaur and Success by Six. It's the domestic polcy, stupid.

Forget about Bush Lied and 16 words. Focus instead on the plight of our veterans who have to buy their own plane tickets home on leave and how their benefits are being drastically cut.

Forget about the federal deficit and talk about the raised property taxes which negate the "middle class tax cut" (say it with the sneer quotes). Mention payroll tax cuts.

Dean often talks about how Americans feel left out of the political process. He needs to start showing those people how their concerns are being addressed. It's not about Iraq or deficits or any other long-range national issues. It's about the here and now. It's about consistent job loss. It;s about corporate tax breaks as a reward for moving workers overseas. It's not about the big picture, it's about the facts on the ground.

And the voters will make the distinction between Dean and Kerry on their own, inexorably, inevitably.

Is the campaign listening anymore? I don't know. Joe Trippi hasn't left a comment on Dean Nation in many long months. The official blog remains an echo chamber of motivational speeches and dry logistical coordinating info. I don't know if they even remember we are here. But we are here, and we need to make noise, and fight to get our campaign back on track.


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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.