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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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Friday, January 23, 2004


I Have a Huge Amount of Respect for Voters

posted by Dana at Friday, January 23, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
“They're going to do whatever they do and I'm going to accept their verdict because that's how democracy works. And then the day after New Hampshire, we're going to go to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and New Mexico.”

On Howard Dean’s big “Comeback Night” this is the line I thought we needed most to hear again.

It came near the end of the Diane Sawyer interview. I think it defines what went wrong, and what still may be wrong with Dean Nation.

Persuasion is seduction. You’re trying to sell to cynical customers. I think many people failed to take “yes” for an answer in Iowa, and some may be failing today to take “no” for an answer in New Hampshire.

If you’re working on the campaign this weekend, you’re a salesman. The best say the product sells itself. Howard Dean proved again last night he is his own best salesman. You need to trust that, but also trust your customers as well. Don’t argue. Smile. Listen. As in Dean’s “Top 10” list last night, switch to decaf.

Even with his big Iowa bump, John Kerry didn’t get far ahead of us. Now we’ve gotten a bump. On Tuesday, I think, Howard Dean will be the Comeback Kid.

But as we work toward that moment, and the moments to come a week later, you’ve got to have faith that the voters will see what we’re selling, compare it to what else is on the Democratic shelf, and make the right choice. And if they don’t, we also have to respect that choice.


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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.