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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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Monday, February 02, 2004


the slow road

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 02, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Ryan Lizza's Campaign Journal blog has been essential reading. He takes a look at the delegate counts and offers a rather important critique of the stated strategy of the Dean campaign:

According to Roy Neel's strategy memo, Dean is hoping for two paradoxical results tomorrow. On the one hand Neel wants Edwards and Clark cleared from the race. On the other hand he wants Kerry weakened. Of course, the way for Kerry to be weakened is for Clark and Edwards to beat Kerry in Oklahoma and South Carolina, thus keeping them viable. Neel is also silent on his plan for the February 10 Tennessee and Virginia contests, which together are worth 151 delegates.

Finally, Dean spent two years and $45 million trying a version of this strategy in Iowa and New Hampshire. It didn't work.

There's a reason Neel has been silent about Feb 10th - it's because they are ignoring the grassroots base. What's needed is a high-level call to arms by Dean himself to his supporters in the Feb 3rd and the Feb 10th states, to bracket his own personal efforts fpor Feb 7th.

The impression I get is that the campaign is trying to play it safe. Dean spoke openly about racial issues once - but now he is ceding South Carolina. And Jesse Jackson Jr has reportedly been seen with Kerry - not surprising given that Dean hasn't even tried to capitalize on that support or endorsement. Dean likewise spoke openly about the need to court the southern voter - and now it's Kerry who is on record as saying that the Southern voter has the same concerns as the northern one. Dean's message is being co-opted and with it, any distinction between him and the rest of the field.

The main advantage Dean has is us. We can only do so much on our own. But a campaign strategy that leaves gaping holes with barely any mention of how they can be filled - or even a public acknowledgement that the grassroots are being actively asked to plug them - is running with one hand tied behind its back.


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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.