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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


To Oppose a War

posted by Brian Ulrich at Saturday, February 14, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Crescateer Amanda Butler (actual political orientation unknown) points to this article suggesting that Abraham Lincoln's opposition to the Mexican War cost him his Congressional seat. This reminds me of one of the reasons I have for supporting Dean: In my judgement, his "far-left hippie" reputation stems entirely from the fact that he opposed the invasion of Iraq. And I think that regardless of how you felt about the war, you have to admit that there was a strong case against it, especially now that the WMD rationale has completely dried up.

It was because he opposed the war that commentators began talking about Howard Dean as the new McGovern, the original concern about his electability. This post by Daniel Drezner shows how many Democratic foreign policy advisors were against Dean solely because of his anti-war views, and the impression I at least took away was that this was politicall driven. The United States cannot afford to become a nation where it is political suicide to oppose a war. Even Steven Den Beste understands the inherent dangers. Because if the McGovern principle can apply to someone like Howard Dean who supported every other military action since Vietnam and even left solid evidence he would act alone if necessary, then it can apply to everyone.

If Dean loses, this will not be the only reason, but I believe it will be a huge part of the reason. And that is part of why I consider this campaign important, not just to change Presidents, but to change America. Future generations are depending on it. Even a respectable showing would leave the door open for future politicians deciding between career and principle in matters of war and peace.


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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.