Nation-Building >> LaFollette | return to front page

"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

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to netvibes

website stats

Previous Posts
Netflix, Inc.
ThinkGeek T-Shirts will make you cool!
illy coffee - 2 cans, 2 mugs for just $26.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004



posted by Dana at Tuesday, February 10, 2004 permalink View blog reactions

You are going to hear a lot from Howard Dean during the next week on the word LaFollette.

Some background is in order.

Robert LaFollette practically defined Wisconsin politics in the early 20th century. He was a Republican, but a progressive one. He was beaten twice by Corporate Republicans, but finally became Governor in 1900. The Grolier Encyclopedia has a modest half-paragraph on his accomplishments in that office:

Wisconsin was the first state to adopt the primary for nominations for state offices. A new law taxed railroads on the value of their property, ending an inequity. Taxes on corporations permitted the state to pay its debts. A railroad commission was created to regulate rates. Funding for education was increased. A civil-service law was adopted. This legislation was drafted by political and social scientists and economists, a feature of the "Wisconsin Idea."

As a U.S. Senator, where he served for 20 years, LaFollette was one of only two votes against American entry into World War I. He won 17% of the vote as the Progressive Candidate for U.S. President in 1924, a record beaten only twice, by Theodore Roosevelt and Ross Perot. After his death in 1925, his son Robert Jr. succeeded him in the Senate, until defeated in 1946 by a then little-known war veteran named Joe McCarthy.

LaFollettism, if one can coin a term, is dedicated to honest elections, to frugality, to the public?s interest against predatory business (and firm support for the other kind), as well as to skepticism regarding blatant, self-gratifying flag-waving.

Give or take some issues, one party, and many decades, it is a description that fits Howard Dean well. It?s what we?ll be fighting for this week.


Post a Comment


View blog top tags
The Assault on Reason

Obama 2008 - I want my country back

I want my country back - Obama 2008

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.