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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, November 05, 2004


A true Opposition

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, November 05, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Josh Marshall explains:

Democrats also need to learn how to live with it, at least for the next four years. And that means realizing that for at least the next two years, the President can get passed almost anything he wants to. His congressional majorities are now sufficiently padded that he can even afford a few Republican defections. He simply doesn't need Democrats for anything.

And that means approaching most legislative battles not with an eye toward preventing passage or significantly altering legislation, but placing alternatives on the table that the party will be able use as contrasts to frame the next two elections. In other words, their only remaining viable alternative is to be an actual party of opposition.

This is a critical distinction. The Democrats have been running since 2000 as the "not GOP" party. That isn't what makes a successful opposition - a true opposition is dedicated to giving voters a clear choice, opposing by example. It's not enough to say "that sucks" - you must offer something positive in its place.

I do NOT think that Dems need to compete on "moral values." Doing so only buys back into the Red-Blue dichotomy, with the assumption that we can flip a state if we market the ideas better. But what if some of the ideas themselves are wrong? Or at least, not genuinely representative of the valid concerns of the other side?

Note that the book in the reading list on the left sidebar, The Two Percent Solution, is exacly an attempt to revisit policy solutions from a more results-oriented perspective. Rather than adopt a classic "blue" approach, he advocates a genuinely "purple" method. Whether any of his ideas are workable is another matter, but teh point is that its a fresh way of looking at policy solutions that explicitly rejects the red-blue dichotomy.


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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.