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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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Sunday, February 01, 2004


SPECIAL interest Kerry

posted by Dana at Sunday, February 01, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Since Tuesday many people on this blog (and the o-blog) have been suggesting what issue will knock John Kerry down, and give our guy another shot at winning this thing.

We’ve had fair charges (Dukakis-Kerry) and unproven charges (Botox-Kerry). We’ve had irrelevant charges (Ketchup-Kerry) and relevant ones (Waffler-Kerry).

But the only judge who counts, Howard Dean, has spoken, on Meet The Press this morning. The winning entry is (drum roll)… Special Interest Kerry.

Pictured (so as not to annoy the good people of Kellogg, in Battle Creek, Michigan, site of a primary this Saturday) is a failed extension of the “Special K” line. (The original product is delicious. I have some in my pantry right now.) Kerry, like the product pictured, will, if chosen, fail in the market.

To be effective a charge must not only be true, it must play into existing doubts about a candidate. This charge does, because it shows that Kerry, like Bush, says one thing and does the opposite. He’s as phony as a “compassionate conservative.”

Here is the story on which the charge is based, which in turn is based on a simple analysis of campaign finance records.

While Senator John Kerry regularly promises to stand up to "big corporations," his campaign has taken money from executives on Wall Street and those representing the telecommunications industry, which is under his purview in Congress. Mr. Kerry denounces President Bush for catering to the rich, but he has depended more heavily on affluent donors than the other leading Democrats except for another populist, Senator John Edwards.

But wait, there’s more:

Mr. Kerry has criticized the current "creed of greed" and faulted Mr. Bush letting "the privileged ride high and reap the rewards." But his typical donors share at least one similarity with the president's, an ability to give $2,000, the legal maximum.

Fifty-five percent of Mr. Kerry's money has come from donors giving $2,000. For Mr. Bush, the comparable figure is 73 percent, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The center's analysis shows that small donors, those giving $200 or less, have provided 12 percent of Mr. Kerry's campaign money, the same percentage they provided for Mr. Bush.

So, can John Kerry make the most important case of this campaign, namely that George W. Bush is beholden to special interests and a Democratic President won’t be?

The answer is he cannot. He will be taken apart by the Bush machine, plucked like a chicken. He is the easiest candidate for George W. Bush to beat, not the hardest.

The hardest is the man who has gotten his money from people like you, and thus is only beholden to people like you.

If Democrats are serious about winning, and serious about making a difference, the candidate they must choose, starting in Wisconsin, is Governor Howard Dean. It’s now up to us to make this case in every way, and every place, we possibly can.


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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.