Nation-Building >> transcript: Meet The Press 03/14/04 | return to front page

"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, March 15, 2004


transcript: Meet The Press 03/14/04

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, March 15, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
a relevant excerpt:

MR. RUSSERT: Let me show you something you said in the campaign way back in July. "If I as governor of Vermont can figure out the case is not there to invade Iraq, how can three senators and a congressman who claim to have authority in public affairs manage to give the president unilateral authority to attack Iraq?" The three senators being Kerry, Edwards, Lieberman and Congressman Gephardt.

DR. DEAN: Sure.

MR. RUSSERT: Having said that, how can John Kerry make a case against the president on Iraq when he voted to give him the authority?

DR. DEAN: Well, first of all, in campaigns, we focus on the differences, and this was a big difference in the campaign. But I think you also need to look at the similarities now that the campaign is over. For whatever our differences were on the war--and they were significant--there are some significant important similarities. First of all, John Kerry has made it very clear that he wanted a real multilateral coalition. The president's coalition of the willing, composed of people like Kazakhstan and Eritrea, is not exactly a real multilateral coalition.

MR. RUSSERT: He had Great Britain and Spain and some big countries.

DR. DEAN: He had Great Britain and Spain and that was it, and Poland. The rest of the list was not a major impressive array of armaments from around the world. So this was a unilateral, essentially, action. I think John Kerry has spoken out very clearly about that. But the biggest difference I think between Senator Kerry and President Bush on this issue is that Senator Kerry really does believe in internationalism and George Bush does not. George Bush said during the campaign there would be no nation building, that he believed that the United States' power ought to be exerted more clearly and more forcefully.

And John Kerry believes, I think--and I don't want to speak for Senator Kerry, because I'm not on this show to do that, but he made it clear during the campaign that you get more--I think you can get more results with cooperation with other countries than not. And I think the illustration of that is very simple, because the comparison is really most interesting between George Bush and his father, who I thought was quite deft diplomatically. George Bush's father had over 100,000 foreign troops in Iraq when we went in the first time, an invasion that I also supported, because I think that when a dictator takes over another country that's your ally, you have an obligation to come to their defense.

This president couldn't get those troops. They have some troops from Britain, some from Spain and some from Poland and a smattering of others. I believe that John Kerry, who is a multilateralist, would have been able to put together the kind of coalition that George Bush's father had, which served us well in the first encounter with Saddam Hussein. This president is not going to ever be able to get us out of Iraq without, I think at this point, Iraq dissolving into chaos or a fundamentalist Shiite theocracy, both of which are very bad for the United States. I think John Kerry will be able to get us out of Iraq because I think he will engender much better cooperative relationships with the kinds of countries that he needs to get those 100,000 foreign troops in so that we can bring home our Guard and Reserve and one of our two divisions.

There was actually a lot of questions about Kerry in the interview, and I think Dean did an admirable job of navigating them. Russert even asks for Dean's reaction to the "Dated Dean, Married Kerry" meme :) It's worth reading to get a sense of where Dean stands.


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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.