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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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Friday, June 11, 2004


I have a dream

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, June 11, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Frequent (conservative) commentator Joe remarked below:

It's insane that Dean, who really embodied not only change, but honesty and conviction, can't get elected because people won't vote for something different.
It's sad.

thats really the crux. What choices are there? The polarization of the public "debate" is akin to screaming howler monkeys throwing crap at each other. Dean oferred a third Way where unity was paramount - a new American majority, not just liberal or conservative (labels whose obsolescence is long overdue). Yet with his moving off to obscurity, the same trends arise - we have lefties here adamantly opposed to supporting ANY Republican, and the occassional righty like Joe who expliciitly stated that he cannot even grant a modicum of respect to the motives of the liberals. What unity? Why shouldn't people just vote status quo in such an atmossphere?

I want to see a "Dean Nation" where left and right can contribute to a real debate and actually have real respect. But I dont see it anywhere. Since I'm libveral, outreach means going to the Right - but I routinely find that there's no hand outstretched to greet me in return. I have opened myself to conservative ideas and they have profoundly affected my positions - I do not toe the liberal line by any means. But even the most "reasonable" conservative such as Tacitus or Drezner or others still persist in rote demonization of the "Left" and still subscribe to the conservative polemics that are obstructing real progress.

The Right continually makes moral judgements against those who disagree - and the Left continually makes ideological purity their litmus test. Both are damaging and frankly I see no room for moderates left.

I had a dream that after the Dean campaign ended I could create a place where such considerations could thrive. One look at the Zonkboard suggests it is hopeless however, full of liberal frustration and bile as it is with the outnumbered token conservatives happy to respond in kind. But Dean Nation CAN exist - and I am ready to create it if it needs a different medium. But what? Scoop? Forum? Blog? Mailing list? I don't know. And unless I can find a reason for this blog to exist, or at least entice my fellow teammates to contribute, I don't know if it even should.

UPDATE: I haven't decided what to do yet, but a lot of that decision will hinge on what you, my community, thinks. Here's a quick poll to gauge how attached we are to these blogspot digs and what fraction of us are willing to embrace the hassle of going somewhere else.


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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.