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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 09, 2004


where was Dean this weekend?

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 09, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
At dKos, Maura in VA writes bitterly about Dean's decision to skip the Virginia JJ dinner:

Dean did not back out of the Virginia JJ last night to attend his son's last hockey game. His son's last hockey game is next Saturday night, which is why he will be missing the Wisconsin Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner, and Wisconsin is his "must win" state!!!!! He made this commitment to his son months ago and he's never said he was going to the Wisconsin JJ.

But he did commit to going to the Virginia JJ, and according to Garrett Graff, Dean spokesman, in the New York Times, he went home to Vermont last night. To rest, presumably.

The JJ dinner last night was so bittersweet. Though sometimes it feels like no one could be more disappointed than me for what has happened to Dean in Virginia, my heart breaks for Don Beyer. He has given his life to Dean in this past year. He has had huge successses in Virginia, most notably by gaining the support of some of Virginia's most important Democrats, like the mayors of Alexandria and Richmond, Rep. Bobby Scott, and Rep. Jim Moran.

It was sickening to be surrounded by all of the big money "Kerry Come Latelies" of Virginia politics. The brave Virginia leaders who took a couragous stance and came out to support Dean early, rather than waiting to see who would be coronated, were left out to dry by Dean going home to Vermont last night.

There are other reports that Dean's Face the Nation apearance was lackluster, and he did not use the opportunity to critique the President's Meet the Press sunday appearance (Bush did so badly that even the conservative stalwarts at NRO's The Corner were comparing his answers to Sharpton on the Federal Reserve).

It is good that Dean is focsing his energies on Wisconsin - but the campaign is no longer aqcting with confidence. Dean is acting like a desperate candidate, not a confident one, and paying the price as voters look for a strong challenger to Bush. Dean's ads should be talking about his acccomplishments, buttressed by quotes from media sources and references, and previewing his attack strategy against Bush. Instead he's reduced to having on-screen surrogates convince voters it's still 2003. I mean, this clip of the 2004 SOTU is more effective than any of the "switch"-inspired ads[1]

Dean's canceling of campaign events in Michigan probably cost him delegates. And given how Clark's monopoly of NH didn't garner him any advantage while the others were distracted by Iowa, it's doubtful that Dean's numbers in WI would have sufferred had he maintained a broader scope. In fact, a stronger finish in Michigan might have boosted media attention - after all, he placed second in WA with 30% of the vote! But it hasn't given him any momentum. Better numbers across the board this weekend might have given some real boost that he could ride better into Wisconsin. As things stand, the Anybody But Kerry crowd is considering voting Edwards or Clark as more viable alternatives.

Dean's money should be focused on Wisconsin. But the candidate needs to be in EVERY state ahead of the WI primary. Yes, the Madison Meetup was a smash, but it was far too early in advance of the actual WI primary to have any real effect. Had Dean gone to Meetup in Ann Arbor as I had been insisting, the numbers out of WA and MI - and the media coverage - might have been different.

[1]Whose idea was it to emulate the ads of a computer company that has only 5% market share as a way to build, er, market share? Dean endorser Al Gore does sit on Apple's board of directors... hmm..


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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.