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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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Saturday, February 14, 2004


Badger Herald interview

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 14, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
not a puff piece! The Herald is the finest student newspaper in the known universe. The Daily Cardinal is the worst newspaper in Madison but the second-finest newspaper in the known universe. My alma mater biases are not showing. Great excerpt:

BH: What is your reaction to the large number of 18- to 24-year-olds who have come out to support your campaign? Why do you think that is?

HD: They are helping a lot -- their energy is helping enormously, and they give money. They don't give much money, but their stories are inspirational. We had a woman at Penn State that sold her bike for $100 and said she sold it for democracy. It's amazing.

BH: How are you going to get those same people to the polls?

HD: Well, they do come to the polls, but the question is, do they come to the polls enough? First of all, here's why I think we are attractive to 18- to 24-year-olds: I don't talk down to people. I mean, I am very aggressive in what I think and I am clear about laying out my views, but I respect other people's opinions right back. I listen to what people are saying and I process it. Most politicians don't do that-they talk down to people. Adults put up with that, but people your age don't because they are coming right from a time when everyone talks down to you and you are sick of it.

Secondly, I will say things that other people won't say that I know are true. All that crap that all the other candidates use to say that Howard Dean created a gaffe a day. That was just manufactured nonsense. I would say things like "We are not any safer since Saddam has been captured," and that's absolutely true. The next week, we lost 23 more people over in Iraq and American airliners are being escorted in by F-16s. That doesn't mean Saddam isn't a terrible person -- I'm glad he's captured -- but the fact is that we aren't any safer. I will say things that people your age, who have a very low tolerance for hypocrisy, recognize as true, that other adults won't say, and I think that is very appealing.

The third thing is I think long-term, and people your age think long-term. I expected people your age to be very interested in the environment, to be very interested in college loans. What I was shocked at was how many people your age brought up the budget deficit. Adults don't do that stuff because they figure, "What the hell, I'll be dead in 15 years." You guys are going to be the ones to pick up the bill, and I think that is very perceptive .... My idea of leadership is different than everybody else's in politics. My idea of leadership is that 80 percent of us do the same thing as everybody does well: we listen to the voters, we do what they want, we look at the polls, blah, blah, blah. The 20 percent that they don't get is that leadership is also saying what you think, even if they don't agree, and bringing people to you. Americans, especially older Americans, would rather hear the nice things. What they don't want to hear is the tough things. I am not warm and fuzzy -- people have accused me of that -- but goddamnit, this country is in trouble because we keep electing warm and fuzzy people who won't address the issues. I think people your age see that.


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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.