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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 21, 2004


Taking my country back: the New Hampshire experience

posted by Jason at Wednesday, January 21, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Since I first became aware of Howard Dean's candidacy, I knew he was the guy who could beat Bush in November. He's a passionate, sincere, experienced executive who tells the truth. In my mind, his message resonates.

That's why, on Friday, I'm hopping on a plane from Oakland to Boston, getting a ride up to New Hampshire, and volunteering for the Dean campaign until Primary Day. I'm taking a few days off from my job at the California League of Conservation Voters (as a phone canvasser and web designer, at this point) to put my money, and my time, and my effort, where my mouth is.

Though I have donated to Dean, and posted a link or two to this site and the campaign site from my own website [beware amusing Flash intro], and told my friends and family about Dean, I felt I needed to do more. This election year is a critical turning point--four more years of Bush means four more years of Orwellian lies and policies designed to benefit only the bottom line of his corporate cronies, with no regard for the health or economic prosperity of the vast majority of Americans. (The fact that so many people don't grasp that truth blows my mind.)

Last Thursday night, it hit me. If this election is so important to me, I'd better do as much as I can to help turn it in my direction. Sure, I'm already doing a lot, getting new people involved in an influential California environmental group every day, electing the best environmental leaders to Sacramento, keeping them accountable, and doing what we can to beat Bush in 2004. (See the Presidential Environmental Forum in L.A., where I got to shake Dr. Dean's hand and tell him I voted for him on Suddenly, though, it didn't seem like enough. I realized that I need to make an immediate impact where I'm needed most. (I also want to see what a presidential campaign is like at the ground level.) It was too late to go to Iowa--tickets were too expensive, I had missed a lot of events, I hadn't taken time off work, etc. However, I found a cheap ticket to Boston, emailed my boss (who was very encouraging, of course), and on Friday my itinerary was set: Arrive Friday evening, January 23rd; leave Wednesday morning, January 28th, knowing who won New Hampshire.

I actually hope to walk precincts in the sub-freezing New England air. Having grown up in Wisconsin and field canvassed for a non-profit in Minneapolis in the dead of winter, I am both well-prepared and perversely nostalgic for that kind of brutal self-punishment. (If I end up on the phones, that's okay, too.)

If all goes well, I'll post daily updates from New Hampshire about my volunteer experience. Thanks to Aziz--my college hall-mate 10 years ago--for giving me the opportunity to make a guest appearance on this blog.

Go Dean! We will win in New Hampshire!


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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.