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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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Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Arlen Specter

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, April 27, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Atrios jokingly endorsed Republican Pat Toomey for the Senate, mainly because it's obvious that Democrat Joe Hoeffel will have an easier time running in opposition to a far-rightwing nut than against the moderate incumbent Republican like Arlen Specter. I've stated before that I am a non-Democrat liberal, and this race is a good example of how partisanship bias often works against the same principles that we liberals use as the foundation of our critique of the right wing. Explicitly wishing for the fanatics to win on the other side is a very... Republican... tactic, because it justifies and perpetuates the increasing trend towards pure partisanship rather than responsible dialouge and debate.

The reason that Dean's campaign appealed to me was because it sought - explicitly - to bridge those partisan gulfs. This is not as true of his post-campaign DFA v2.0 organization, sadly. But the longer view remains valid - that by fostering respect and moderation on both sides of the aisle, we can achieve lasting change and reform to our political process. Single-mindedly replacing every (R) in Congress with a (D) will not achieve that goal. Adopting the Republican mindview of Us vs Them will not bring new voters to the process and give them a feel that anything has changed, and that there is something worth voting for.

I'm going against the grain here. But I am endorsing Arlen Specter for the Republican primary. I don't live in PA so my endorsement is worth less than the electrons on my screen, but it's a symbolic stand, not a pragmatic one.

Should Specter win against Toomey, then the choice between Hoeffel and Specter becomes a real choice, not a knee-jerk reaction. That is what the citizens of Pennsylvania deserve.


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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.