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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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Tuesday, January 20, 2004


The Speech

posted by Brian Ulrich at Tuesday, January 20, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
I've seen the coverage of Howard Dean's concession speech yesterday, covered on CBS and NBC with the headline "Dean Scene," and with all the talking heads commenting on how awful it was. Now, IMHO, it was not a smart thing for Dean to do that on national television. It was probably worse for his campaign than the third place finish. I'll say it reminded me of a Homecoming pep rally when the old returning alumnus gets up there and tries to be cool, but seriously isn't. But first of all, it wasn't angry, it was just determination to move forward. He was laughing and smiling during it. And it strikes me as really unfair that if Kerry can ride on-stage on a Harley on a TV show, Dean can't get a bit wild at a campaign rally. Yes, it was overboard, but I have to question whether it's really worth all the attention it's getting.

The fact is, anger is Dean's press meme. Al Gore was seen as an exaggerator, and therefore every slight exaggeration of an achievement or joke or rumor thereof got to be big news. George W. Bush is seen as somewhat illiterate, and therefore every minor grammatical slip gets passed around and mocked by people who have probably seldom had to give a lecture much less keep up political levels of public speaking. Howard Dean is now seen as angry, and every time he fails to speak in a monotone, it will be news. He should have thought of that. But he didn't.

And I feel bad about that, because he was instead thinking of his supporters. And I for one want to make sure he doesn't lose this election on our account.


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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.