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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, February 18, 2004


The Assassination of Howard Dean

posted by Christopher at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
From AlterNet comes this analysis of the coordinated establishment effort to take Dean down - hard. As apt a synopsis as any we're likely to see. I trust the editorial writers of America will now engage in a round of "Hail Dean" for his internet strategy, revitalizing democracy, luring the disenfranchised and the young back to the process, and establishing a small donor base.

But, those laudatory columns will miss what Dean was really all about: fiscal conservatism (balanced budget and repeal of the Bush tax cuts to retire our deficit), a sane, multilateral foreign policy, health care for all Americans, and states rights - yes, Dean has actually been a proponent of small government - civil unions and gun rights are two good examples where Dean has said the federal government has no role - "let the states decide" he said.

It's true that Dean's style and aggressive nature has rubbed off on the other candidates - however, one of the weaknesses I see in Kerry (especially), and Edwards is still this willingness to be all things to all people and insist that they (or, the federal government) have all the answers. Dean has often said it (he did again today in his concession speech), and it's true: "The biggest lie that people like me tell people like you at election time is that if you vote for me, I'll solve all your problems." Dean knows that isn't true, his platform and message conveyed that honesty. Sadly, the establishment didn't want to hear it.

I think that message will continue to resonate and grow, however, as citizens tire of platitudes and promises and look for real solutions. Dean had some good ideas. Many of us are hoping he'll find ways to keep them alive.


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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.