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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



posted by Dana at Friday, January 23, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
“Being in love with somebody is a terrific thing, but if you only marry somebody because they're in love … you're in love with them.That's why the divorce rate is 50 percent” -- Dr. Howard Dean

We Dean People feel passionate about our candidate. We are in love, many of us for the first time.

But you can’t make a real relationship out of passion, and that’s what most Americans want with their President, a relationship. We want to believe we can trust the President. So ordinary men remake themselves to win this trust, and the result is the usual phony politician.

Dean is trying to remake himself without changing himself, which is good. But while many pundits lay the current problem in the polls on his shoulders, and many others lay it on Trippi or the ad staff, I want to lay it somewhere else.

I’m going to lay it on us.

A lot of people are being turned-off by what we’re doing, and by the passion with which we’re doing it. Like lovers, we want it very badly, maybe too badly. And the more ardently we press our case, with letters, e-mails, home visits, phone calls, the less we look like a political movement and the more we look like a cult.

Right now no one believes in us, except for Dr. Dean and the people in Burlington. But if we’re going to make a comeback in New Hampshire, we have to go through many of the changes the Doctor himself has seemed to go through these last few days.

I mentioned some of those changes earlier today. We need to trust the people again. In our cynical age that’s tough, especially when we feel spurned by them, as we felt spurned by the people in Iowa. But in a democracy, trust in the people is the only path to success.

We have a weekend to turn things around, to present a different face to the people of New Hampshire. We need to be more comfortable with ourselves, and what we believe in. We need to make many more people comfortable with us, and with our candidate again.

Don’t blame the press. Don’t blame the candidate. Don’t blame the campaign. Don’t blame the pundits.

If you want to make people perceive us differently, look in the mirror. You want a relationship with other voters, a trusting, honest relationship. You don’t need them to fall in love with you, or with Howard Dean. So don’t beg, don’t whine, don’t believe just in money or ads or shoe leather.

Instead, believe in yourself. Testify. That’s what you need to do this weekend, testify. Testify to your faith in yourself, in your ideals, in your country, and in your fellow citizens. You have the power to do that.

You won’t change everyone. You won’t change most people. But perhaps, with faith, you can change enough opinions to make a difference, and make Howard Dean into The Next Comeback Kid.


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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.