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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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Thursday, February 26, 2004


open letter to ChangeForAmerica

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 26, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Dear ChangeForAmerica,

You can't know how neccessary it was for batterred Dean supporters to see Joe Trippi posting again at ! Rest assured that despite the words of a vocal dysphoric minority, the tangible proof that the movement would continue in some form was a boon to we in the netroots who have blogged and organized for almost two years on Dean's behalf.

Since your debut almost a month ago, we have been anxious to know what you are planning, so that we can respond. We still don't know what the purpose of CFA is, what its role should be, or what its relationship to the Dean campaign v2.0 is. Mark Sundeen had this tantalizing report from the retreat at the Trippi farm last weekend:

We spent yesterday afternoon discussing how we can best use the tools and community that you have built over the last thirteen months. We broke into three groups and each drafted a mission statement and a set of goals and objectives for the future of Change for America. The range of talent and ideas is wide, and there is still work to be done hammering out a specific platform.

This is exactly the kind of thing that the grassroots are ready for - but the subsequent announcement of the CFA summits in various cities around the country did not reveal any further details. I want to make a plea on behalf of Dean Nation for these draft documents to be posted on the CFA blog, so that the grassroots can begin the process of hammering out the platform for change.

Right now the grassroots should be focused on a single goal: Boot Bush. Also, please remember that a significant majority of the Dean grassroots is focused on the delegate campaign, at Howard Dean's explicit request:

First, keep active in the primary. Sending delegates to the convention only continues to energize our party. Fight on in the caucuses. We are on the ballots. Use your network to send progressive delegates to the convention in Boston. We are not going away. We are staying together, unified -- all of us.

Any other task or vision is secondary to these goals. Isn't it counter-productive to reinvent the Meetup, solely for discussion's sake, when the question of what's Next could begin immediately, efficiently, and democratically over the Web?

CFA remains very mysterious to most of us, despite the star-power of its roster. The organization must open up a bit and show it's hand, or the passionate support of the grassroots won't materialize. DFA made the grassroots feel a part of the process, but CFA seems to be holding back. You'll have to meet the grassroots halfway if you want to tap into the deeper well of its support.

I urge CFA to trust the judgement of the grassroots, and publish its draft documents from the farm. Let's work on this together, so that when we meet up at the CFA summits we already have a plan that involves ACTION, not just discussion. Only then can we make a meaningful contribution to the effort to Boot Bush.


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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.