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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 28, 2004

 

Winning On Electability

posted by Dana at Wednesday, January 28, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Here is what killed us last night.

New Hampshire Democrats bought the idea that the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party is, by definition, its more liberal wing, thus its least-electable wing.

Kerry beat us among moderates, and he pounded us on electability.

Over the next week we're going to get a lot of help in taking him down. The media is going to provide much of it. Kerry was Michael Dukakis' Lieutenant Governor. His voting record is more liberal than Teddy Kennedy's. He has never held executive office. Etc. etc. etc.

Wesley Clark and John Edwards are going to help us in this. They are going to direct all their fire on Kerry. This is a good thing.

Governor Dean's ads, meanwhile, are going to start sounding more like the speeches he gave last week in New Hampshire. Overtly or not, they will make the points I made here last night. We are going to run to Kerry's right, on Dean's record, and take back the moderates.

It then becomes crucial that the anti-Kerry vote not go to Clark or Edwards, and that we take the "electability" issue back as well.

That will be even easier.

Start with extravagant praise. John Edwards is a great lawyer, what we wouldn't give to see him as Attorney General instead of John Ashcroft. Wesley Clark is a great military thinker, what we wouldn't give to see him as Defense Secretary instead of Donald Rumsfeld. And Joe Lieberman, wouldn't he make a great Chief Justice when William Rehnquist retires?

But none of these men, as worthy as they are, has any more chance of being elected President in November than Al Sharpton or Dennis Kucinich.

At some point this spring, they will all run through the $45 million they are allowed to spend under the campaign laws. At that point, they will go under virtual house arrest. They will not be able to buy ads, they will not be able to travel, they won't even be able to pay their Internet bills.

That is the law. Bill Clinton used it to hammer Bob Dole in 1996. George W. Bush used it to hammer Al Gore in 2000.

Today Bush has 200 million dollars ready to shock and awe us with the largest ad campaign in political history. He will spend that money turning Edwards into a Breck Girl, Clark into Beetle Bailey, or Lieberman into the devil himself.

The only way Democrats can compete this summer is for 2 million people, or more, to match Bush's $200 million with $200 million of their own. Our campaign can do that. Theirs can't. We would be proud to serve with any one of these worthy gentlemen, but the law as written, the law we will follow through this November, gives them no hope of victory, none.

Run to the right, become the only hope, and the nomination is ours.

Then comes the hard part.




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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.