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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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Thursday, January 22, 2004


Humility is a Virtue

posted by Christopher at Thursday, January 22, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
This is a great column in today's Boston Globe - whether you believe that Dean's speech was over the top, or not (or the media spin of Dean as "angry") - it's clear that voters would like some reassurance about the man's temperament. Dean would be well served in his remarks tonight to not only talk about his plans for the country, but to make it clear that he is aware enough, and confident enough to let NH voters (and the rest of the country) that he understands these concerns, put his past remarks in proper context (but not "excuse" them), and finally maybe even give the concession speech he should have given in Iowa. A brief explanation and a few graceful remarks congratulating Sen. Kerry and Sen. Edwards on their victory, for keeping the discussion positive, and that "all the Democrats up here on stage care greatly for the future of this country - we are joined in the pursuit of a real alternative to the current administration, etc." would demonstrate the self-awareness and humility that can buoy Dean in the last few days before the vote.

I also happen to think that it cannot hurt Dean to note that a lot of the discussion about his candidacy has shifted from substance to style, and to re-emphasize (as he's been doing effectively the last couple of days) that he's in this race to balance the federal budget, provide health care, and reinitiate a multilateral foreign policy. The debate shouldn't be about how many internet supporters there are, or how much money is raised, or how big (or charged up) a rally is - this debate should be about our kids and the debt their being saddled with, the air and water they'll inherit, and their relative safety in the world. It's high time to get back to the substance of this campaign and continue working for Dean's vision.

Let me be clear - this is not encouraging Dean or any of his supporters to concede anything, nor is it a somber occasion. I think Dean should smile tonight, relax, the pressure is off. He should just be himself, acknowledge the concerns about his temperament, focus on moving the campaign and his platform forward. If these things come together, I believe Dean can still capture New Hampshire and shock the establishment.

How about others? What's your take on tonight's debate and how it might be handled?


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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.