Nation-Building

"We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the end, that's what this election is about." -- Barack Obama, DNC keynote address, July 2004

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Sunday, July 11, 2004

 

Remember the $100 Revolution? http://www.joetrippi.com/node/view/105

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, July 11, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Joe Trippi has a good essay explaining how the dream has been realized - and of course, its roots are with the Dean movement. Some recap of history and where we are today:

The Kerry campaign has taken in more than $150 million this year, for a total of $182 million announced last week. $44 million of that was contributed online in just the last three months.
[...]
Mary Beth Cahill, John Kerry’s campaign manager, credits it to “the strength of the small donor.”

Remarkably, the average donation to the Kerry campaign online in May was $108, down dramatically from the first three months of the year where his average gift was a whopping $956.
[...]
What few remember now was that it was that decision—the first time a presidential campaign ever put its strategy to an online vote—that not only triggered Dean’s action, but led to John Kerry’s decision to opt-out of public financing as well. I am convinced that when the story of the 2004 election is written, that moment will be seen as the turning point of the entire campaign. By freeing himself from the restrictions of public funding, John Kerry put his trust in the people to sustain his campaign. What’s truly revolutionary is not merely that Kerry’s faith in his supporters was rewarded by their financial support, but that any candidate would let his campaign’s fundamental strategy be dictated, even indirectly, by a online plebescite.


To be accurate, it was Dean who allowed his campaign to be dictated to by the grassroots, and Kerry is reaping the benefits of that decision without having had to make it himself. Trippi tactfully doesn't mention the fact that at the time, Kerry critiqued Dean for eschewing the federal funds, calling the online vote a "fig leaf" - and then followed suit, claiming he didn't want to unilaterally disarm. The truth though is that Dean provided Kerry political cover from the other candidates, without which Kerry might not have taken the leap. In that scenario, Bush would have had an unstoppable monetary advantage by now. It's solely through financial parity that Bush's avalanche of negative campaigning hasn't dragged Kerry down.

Keep in mind though that the money Kerry raises today is because of Kerry, not Dean. The average voter sending Kerry his 100 bucks is doing so because they believe in Kerry to win against Bush, just as they voted for Kerry overwhelmingly in the primaries. As we laud the grassroots for their monetary might, we must also respect them for their collective vote. Dean's role was key, but it's Kerry's game now.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

 

Octavius No More? http://dean2004.blogspot.com/

posted by Trammell at Saturday, July 10, 2004 permalink 2 comments View blog reactions
Howdy Dean Nation, how ya'll been? I'm dragging my kool-aid drinking ass out of retirement, and here's why.....

Despite Wayne's misgivings, Edwards was the only choice for Kerry's veep pick.

Let's face it, Gep is an uninspiring disaster who lead the Dems into perpetual minority status in Congress. I was rather troubled by reports that Kerry was poised to pick Dick, and fortunately, my troubles were for naught.

Why is Edwards the one and only? Well, he was, by and large, or so it seems to me, the #2 choice for the Dean folks, and was at the top of the list for Dean's #2 when us starry-eyed kool-aid sippers had Dem convention stars in our eyes. He will, more than any other possible choice, solidify the base.

It's worth noting that in a recent poll....
...John Edwards as the Democratic vice presidential candidate is being viewed favorably by most American voters, according a new poll, although they do see the one-term senator's limited experience in political office as a liability.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, taken Tuesday, found that 64 percent of registered voters surveyed called the choice of Edwards excellent or pretty good, while [only] 28 percent termed it only fair or poor. Seventy percent said they were either enthusiastic or satisfied by the choice, while 19 percent described themselves as dissatisfied or angry.

By contrast, registered voters in the poll were more sure, and more divided, when asked how they felt about Vice President Dick Cheney. His favorable rating was [only] 43 percent, with 44 percent viewing him unfavorably and 13 percent unsure.

When asked about Edwards' limited experience in office -- a point Republicans are hammering home -- 55 percent said it was a weakness, while 40 percent called it a strength. However, 57 percent still said they thought Edwards was qualified to serve as president if called upon to fill the office, compared to 29 percent who said he was not.
Yes, folks, that means that Edwards, right out of the gate, is more popular with reservations than Cheney is at all. Wow.

I have not been enthusiastic about Kerry, as my lack of posts here at Dean Nation demonstrates -- Edwards was certainly the shot in the arm I needed. I will start posting again, I will walk precincts, I will amp up the adrenalin. Moore's 9/11 helped, but this was what I really needed.

Praise Edwards! Perhaps we are not doomed to four more years of Octavius Bush, and perhaps The Republic will be saved!

Backbone Award to John Kerry...finally!

Ipso Facto: From Kos, an NBC poll shows that....
















Friday, July 09, 2004

 

federal spending http://www.liberaloasis.com/archives/070404.htm#070904

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, July 09, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Liberal Oasis scored an invite to the launch party for Trippi's new book, and has this cool tidbit:

Perhaps most importantly, (Trippi) credited Howard Dean and his supporters for bypassing the federal campaign fund system, without which Kerry would not have done the same and been able to match Bush nearly dollar for dollar.

As Trippi noted, that was not in Karl Rove's plan.


Keep in mind that if Kerry had accepted matching funds, Bush would have steamrolled the media by now unopposed. Dean's campaign was critical to changing the dynamics of the 2004 election in a fundamental way. Victory really will be ours, in a sense.

 

Best use of your money

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, July 09, 2004 permalink 2 comments View blog reactions
The heady days of the Bat are long gone, but that doesn't mean that our money isn't needed. And John Kerry no longer needs your money - he has to spend all his cash on hand before the convention, since he can't keep any of it afterwards, so donations are better directed to House and Senate races. I've replaced the Kerry donation icon at left accordingly, with a Senate and a House race to focus on. Currently Dean Nation is featuring Tony Knowles for Alska Senator and Richard Morrison for Texas Congressman - I highly encourage you to drop some cash their way because both races are going to be down to the wire. Any suggestions for other candidates worthy of support? Chime in!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

 

Ditka! http://www.draftditka.com/

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, July 07, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
You know that Barack Obama is a force of nature when the GOP resorts to... DITKA! I have a lot of love for the old guy, seeing as how in junior high we all sang the Superbowl Shuffle and all. In the personality contest, however, Obama is a rock star and Ditka is a has-been. The analogies to Paul Simon keep on coming, and that carries a lot more weight downstate than faded Soldier Field glories. The GOP is desperate for a dose of celebrity to counter the Obama factor, but recruiting Ditka for state party chairman just pales in comparison.

Proof? via a hysterical discussion thread at Kos, comes news that Obama raised $4million last quarter alone.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

 

Kerry Edwards 2004

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, July 06, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
we are so going to kick Bush's ass in November. And I cannot wait for the veep debates!

The Right got taken in by the Gephardt feint, but they have feared Edwards all along:

MORE VEEPSTAKES [Rich Lowry]
Another GOP strategist fears Edwards for these intriguing reeasons, the first of which wouldn't have occured to me: 1) competition always makes candidates better, and Kerry will feel pushed to hone his campaign skills, to the extent it is possible, to try keep up with Edwards; 2) Edwards is able to connect with a "K-mart crowd" much better than the aloof Kerry; 3) Edwards comes off as optimistic and cheerful (even if his primary-campaign message was downbeat), and whatever can be done to make the Democratic ticket seem less dour, in all senses, helps Kerry. For what it's worth...


The real question is, will Dean mount a Bradley-style insurgency against Edwards for the 2012 nomination?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

 

Dean to Tackle Nader http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19103-2004Jun30.html

posted by Christopher at Thursday, July 01, 2004 permalink 1 comments View blog reactions
Howard Dean is set to debate Ralph Nader for 90 minutes on an upcoming NPR segment. Whether or not you believe that debating Nader gives him 'free press' and media attention thus legitimizing his run, he's clearly staying in the race. If Dean can make a compelling case to potential Nader supporters and deflate him in a head-to-head debate it could really help Kerry.

These types of debates can make a real impact on public opinion of a candidate. Remember Al Gore knocking Ross Perot around on NAFTA a few years back? Regardless of the merits of NAFTA, Perot was clearly rattled and never regained his stature as a serious national candidate after that. This could be a great opportunity for Dean to strike a unity call for all those opposed to the Bush Administration. Obviously there's risk involved as well should Nader effectively raise his profile with an effective debate.

Any other thoughts, comments on this count?

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

 

Dean: Bush's War on Science http://www.sitnews.us/HowardDean/062904_dean.html

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, June 30, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
via Barb, Howard Dean's ;atest column takes the Bush Administration to task for placing ideology above science - to the detriment of the public interest, but to the great benefit of the Republican Party:

I write this week's column as a physician.

The Bush administration has declared war on science. In the Orwellian world of 21st century America, two plus two no longer equals four where public policy is concerned, and science is no exception. When a right-wing theory is contradicted by an inconvenient scientific fact, the

science is not refuted; it is simply discarded or ignored.

Egregious examples abound. Over-the-counter morning-after contraceptive sales are banned, despite the recommendation for approval by an independent panel of the Food and Drug Administration review board. The health risks of mercury were discounted by a White House staffer who simply crossed out the word "confirmed" from a phrase describing mercury as a "confirmed public health risk." A National Cancer Institute fact sheet is doctored to suggest that abortion increases breast cancer risk, even though the American Cancer Society concluded that the best study discounts that. Reports on the status of minority health and the importance of breast feeding are similarly watered down to appease right-wing ideologies.


Dean's classic statement about "ideology, not facts", echoed above, is slightly off-base however. The truth is that the Republican Party seeks power for its own sake - there is NO guiding ideology underneath, other than acquisition of power itself. Tomorrow should the Christian Right become electorally irrelevant, the GOP would drop advocacy of their causes as casually and without hesitation as they have rejected federalism, fiscal conservatism, and respect for the military.

 

CFA relaunches http://www.changeforamerica.com/

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, June 30, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
As promised, CFA v2 has launched (didn't want to get left behind by DFA after all :) Its a spiffy new site with user registration, moderated comments, a news aggregator, and a forum. However, given that Trippi has his own site now, it's not clear what role he plays in CFA, or even what role CFA still intends to play in general (the About page still comes up with Page Not Found).

My earlier critiques of CFA still stand - I think that they expected to parlay the Dean movement's momentum into a PAC of some sort but utterly failed to deliver the content or the leadership to rally around. If not for the indomitable blogging efforts of Adam Mordecai the place would be as vacant as the leadership vacuum at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But it is nice to see that CFA has relaunched as a community site, which I think goes some way towards addressing those critiques. Rather than pointless "summits" which never materialized, a community site will allow for more participation at the user level, and maybe give CFA the direction it's been lacking until now.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

 

Texas Tuesdays: Jake Gilbreath http://www.texastuesdays.com/

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, June 29, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
via Charles, the first of the Texas State House candidates is being profiled at Texas Tuesdays this week - Jake Gilbreath, a student at George Washington University. Click over and check it out!

Monday, June 28, 2004

 

JoeTrippi.com http://www.joetrippi.com/

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 28, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Looks like Change For America will be shuttering down in favor of the new Joe Trippi.com site, which currently features some excerpts from Trippi's new book (to be released July 6th). I've asked Joe for a review copy, if he sends me one I will review the book here. In the meantime, JT.com will probably be similar to a Scoop-style site with user diaries and moderation, and they will likely transition to that site in the next few days.

The introduction to JT's book is online, and has a fairly powerful anecdote of a meeting between the campaign staff and HD about the decision to seal his gubernatorial records. Excerpt:

“You’ve got to release the records, Governor.”

His eyes are set, and his open face is pulled back defensively into that tree-trunk neck. “But there’s nothing in there.”

“If there’s nothing in there, then we should release them.”

“But there’s nothing in there.”

“That’s why we have to release them.”

“But why should we release them when there’s nothing in there?”

We go around in circles like this until Governor Dean—whose running mate could have been stubbornness—ends the debate by saying he’s done talking about it. “I would rather withdraw from the race than release those records.

We’re all quiet. The frontrunner in the 2003 Democratic presidential campaign is threatening to quit, while he still has the lead. The meeting ends, Governor Dean nods in my direction and chokes out the words, “Follow me, Joe.”

I try to keep up, but he’s striding down the hallway toward my office, and I’m straggling fifteen feet behind him, reassuring staffers as I move down the hall.

My office is in the corner of the third floor, a long narrow gash of a room—a crash site of paper, CD cases, and empty Diet Pepsi cans. Howard Dean is standing against the wall, his back to me. He’s shaking.

“You made this too easy,” he manages to say.

“What?” I ask.

“This. I never thought it would go this far. I was going to raise my profile, raise health care as an issue, shake up the Democratic Party. Help change the country. But I never thought this would happen. Don’t you understand?” He turns and faces me. “I never thought I could actually win. I wanted to . . . but I never really thought it could happen.”


I'd heard that anecdote before, and I suppose it's a mark of how deepy I have drunk the ABB kool-aid that in retrospect, I can't imagine how the Dean campaign would have survived the general election season, for precisely this problem - Dean is just too blunt, too real. Kerry isn't going to be as easy to distort. I think that Trippi's point, that though the candidate lost, the campaign actually won, is valid here - it's our success and our passion for Dean that have given Kerry the strength to do what perhaps our candidate ultimately wouldn't be able to.

It's impossible to say whether Trippi admits to any role in the failure of the campaign to react and adapt or whether it really is everyone else's fault - but I hope to read his book and see for myself what his side of the story is.

CORRECTION: Mordecai lets us know that CFA will remain as a community political site. I know I've been hard on CFA in the past as an organization, but let me state for the record that the CFA bloggers have been doing a great and underappreciated job. Rather than just Drymala posting about "change! real soon now...", its become a soli team effort. Check them out if you haven't in some time...

Sunday, June 27, 2004

 

Nader's Nadir http://www.mydd.com/story/2004/6/26/182718/444

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, June 27, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Jerome Armstrong declares Nader toast:

It is over for Nader. I will personally be stunned if he makes the ballot in twelve states. He does not have the money for a limited national advertising drive like he had in 2000. There will be no Nader "super-rallies" like in 2000, where he regularly drew crowds exceeding 10,000 people. He has no party support. He has nothing.

From now on, no poll that includes Nader should be taken seriously. Libertarian + Constitution now probably poses a larger threat to Bush than Nader + Cobb poses for Kerry. It is time for everyone in the Democratic Blogosphere to relax their sphincters and allow their blood pressure to drop. It is time we started paying Nader the attention he deserves in this campaign--none. To continue complaining about him would border on mental illness.


Head over to myDD by clicking the link above to read why (I won't spoil the delicious details for you here).

And good for the Green party, who are finally free of the self-destructive taint of association with Crazy Ralph. The Green party, as has been noted elsewhere, often does very well in electing lower-office officials who are principled and fight for progressive causes on principle. The Greens have a role to play in our politics and can do the most good at the state and local levels. I should really considering kicking some money their way...

 

if Gephardt gets picked as VP,

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, June 27, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
then I'm staying home on election day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

 

the first Black President http://www2.obamaforillinois.com/television/YesBUO0401_windowsmedia.wmv

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, June 23, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
check out this Obama for Illinois campaign ad, and tell me if you don't agree that you're seeing the future First Black President of the United States.

However, Obama faces some difficult challenges ahead, in triangulating between the demands of his base and the broader Democratic electorate. The Black Commentator magazine has a provocative piece that asks whether Obama will fall to the influence of the DLC and Al From - whom we Deaniacs know to have been instrumental in derailing the populist message of the Dean campaign.

Note that Obama was among the first Dean Dozen endorsed by Democracy for America - and that Dean himself has pledged to campaign for Obama in Illinois. The New Democrat Network also has Obama on it's watch list of rising stars.

However, the best prognostic indcator of where Obama stands is in comparison to another modern-day Illinois politician - Paul Simon. Simon was beloved across the aisle, a populist liberal with a libertarian streak - and a fiscal conservative. Obama himself has stated that he follows the Paul Simon mold, on which I think we Howard Dean fans find familiar.

As the BC article notes, there are many voices whispering in Barack Obama's ear right now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

 

Howard Dean on Randi Rhodes NOW http://airamericaradio.com/pub/globalDefault.htm

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, June 22, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Randi Rhodes is interviewing Howard beginning right now. Tune in via the above link.

 

Texas Tuesdays: State House races http://www.texastuesdays.com/archives/000038.html

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, June 22, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Texas Democratic convention has wrapped up in Houston - check out Texas Tuesdays for highlights on some of the State House races that are in play.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

 

Kerry vacation scandal! http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20040620/ap_on_el_pr/kerry

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, June 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Nedra Pickler does it again - I actually found myself laughing out loud:

Kerry is a rich man who promotes the Democratic ideal that government should do more to help the poor. He moves between both worlds, spending the past week traveling to downtrodden places like South-side Columbus, Ohio, and the affluent island playground of Nantucket.

Not since President Kennedy have Democrats been prepared to nominate a man of such riches.
[...]
Like Kerry, President Bush is a Yale graduate who has benefited from his wealth and family connections. But Bush spends his down time as more of an everyman, preferring to spend vacations at his Texas ranch clearing brush.

"Most Americans don't sit in Martha's Vineyard, swilling white wine," he said at the ranch two years ago.


I'm in awe of this woman's Hackdom. I could fisk this, but what's the point, really? The AP should be outraged.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

 

Texas Bloggers meet Richard Morrison http://www.texastuesdays.com/archives/000037.html

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, June 19, 2004 permalink 3 comments View blog reactions
On the sidebar at left, Dean Nation has a new endorsement - Richard Morrison is the guy taking on Tom Delay in TXCD-22. Myself and a bunch of fellow bloggers (in Houston for the Democratic convention) got to met Morrison at a local coffee shop. Byron has a full report of the interview with Mr. Morrison at BOR.

Keep an eye on Texas Tuesdays - big things planned!

 

Gary Hart for SecHomeDef http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=7834

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, June 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
If there's one thing that the entire liberal blogsphere should agree on, it is that Gary Hart needs to be in the Cabinet as Secretary of Homeland Defense. His recent interview at The American Prospect is essential reading, where he lays out broad and muscular principles for applying all forms of American power, hard and soft, to both foreign policy and honeland defense. Excerpt:


What is the message of your book?

From the end of the Cold War until the terrorist attacks of 2001, America did not have a grand strategy. We did not take the time to define our purpose in our world. To rectify that, I propose that we strive toward three goals: achieve security, expand opportunity to ourselves and others, and promote liberal democracy. We have abundant power to achieve these aims. We have the largest economy, and we are a political and military power. In addition, America has a fourth power, which are its principles, including, of course, free press, freedom of assembly, human right, and rule of law. When we support a government that doesn't believe in those things, we are weakening ourselves. We did that during the Cold War. We should not do that in the war on terrorism.

Even Jimmy Carter, who believed strongly in human rights, aligned himself with unsavory characters.


It’s hard. We could become more European and say: "The world is a messy place. We understand. We'll have to get ourselves messy. We make no grand claims for being superior." But America does claim to be superior. And, like an individual, if you violate your own principles to achieve an objective, you should question the objective. It's probably wrong.

You're critical of an ad hoc approach to foreign policy. But why can't you just deal with a crisis in, say, Somalia as it comes up?

Well, that was basically the Clinton approach. Madeleine Albright -- or Sandy Berger -- said, "We don’t have a strategy; we deal with issues as they arise." The problem is the world surprises you. Having this kind of approach is like an individual who says: "I don’t know what my purpose is in life. I'm going to get up in the morning and see what happens."

Friday, June 18, 2004

 

Veep and Cabinet http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/6/18/1170/46093

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, June 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Absolutely brilliant thread at Kos hashing out the Veepstakes. I share Kos' disquiet at the fact that none of the contenders are non-white non-males, but this seems to be the hand we are dealt. Keeping in mind that the soonest Kerry will announce a VP is at least a week or two after June 30th's handover in Iraq, so the media oxygen has refreshed, this is all hypothetical, but here's my current leanings:

VP - John Edwards. Edwards came through the primaries with almost no mud clinging, media-invented or otherwise. The discussion on Gephardt recently has pointed towards the Labor support, but that's largely illusory. Rockefeller has also been proposed because he would help deliver West virginia, but I don't think two patricians on the ticket will be tenable, it's just too "old guard". Edwards, in addition to delivering South Carolina, brings true life to the party - he has a real knack for the populist appeal and can reach out to disaffected voters in ways that Kerry cannot. Edwards is yound, he is articulate, and he speaks directly to you, not at you - and he would represent a real personification of the Future for the party and the Nation. We need to be forward-looking, and present to America a glimpse of where we want to go - not where we have been.

Homeland Security - Gary Hart. There is no other choice, absolutely none.

Secretary of State - Bill Clinton. Bring back the Big Dog.

Secretary of Defense - Joe Biden. We need a principled hawk.

Secretary of Labor - Gephardt, of course.

I'm pretty soft on all of this so I'm eager to hear your own rationales...

Thursday, June 17, 2004

 

the center of mass

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, June 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Robert had a great capsule history of the great drift in American politics that I think bears wider audience:

In 1964 the Goldwater faction bullied their agenda and won the presidential nomination Barry and away from Rockefeller. They didn't even want Nelson to be on the ticket as VP.

After how shabbily he was treated, Rockefeller withdrew from politics altogether.

That '64 convention was the start of the conservative revolution.

But Goldwater today would be considered far too liberal for the hard-core right.

Dean is really a fiscal conservative and social progressive in the mold of Rockefeller.(in 1964)


The problem with most conservatives is that they define anyone who is socially liberal as "Leftist" - ignoring the fact that those positions have essentially become mainstream. The center of mass in the social sense has moved left, whereas the political debate has shifted right (as Robert ably explains above). The resulting disconnect has left a lot of people out in the cold, ie reduced voter participation. Why? because only the people who were to the right end of the social spectrum still remain represented by the political debate.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

 

Zogby poll about Kerry/Dean ticket http://interactive.zogby.com/pollregistration/registration/

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, June 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
(registration required) - let's do our part :) Some of you mistook my earlier argument against Dean as VP as an endorsement of McCain - let me assuage that by saying hell no. And while I don't think Dean would would help Kerry win were he on the ticket, I do have a vested interest in seeing Dean's views influence the platform. In that sense, I endorse polls like this because they help keep pressure on Kerry. So go forth and rock this poll!

UPDATE: the inevitable Draft Dean site has sprung up. They are asking for money to promote the cause, but IMHO mine is better spent on supporting the Dean Dozen.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

 

Dean for VP? I disagree http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/06/15/how_about_howard?mode=PF

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, June 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
A pointed opinion piece in the Boston Globe asks the obvious question, if Kerry can consider McCain for VP, then why not Howard Dean?

News accounts of Kerry's overtures and McCain's ultimate rebuff focus on the tempting idea of a bipartisan ticket that could reach across the vituperative divide in American politics. But Kerry would also benefit from the edgy energy and tell-it-like-it-is approach politicians like McCain and Dean exemplify. Settling for the handsome but bland optimism of North Carolina Senator John Edwards makes safe political sense. But it also shows the limits of tolerance for spark, verve, and controversy when Democrats think about selling fellow Democrats to voters or when Republicans think of selling fellow Republicans like McCain to voters.
[...]
the provocative Republican was Kerry's first choice for vice president; a provocative Democrat who brought heart, soul, and an energized base to his party's primaries is on the sidelines. Dean had the courage to call Bush on Iraq, the Patriot Act, and No Child Left Behind. The former Vermont governor's passionate rhetoric forced Kerry to challenge these cornerstones of Bush administration policy, which Kerry previously supported with votes in the US Senate.

"You could hear my lines in their speeches." Dean told the AP in a recent interview reflecting on his amazing rise and fall in presidential politics. The rhetorical theft began after his opponents realized the potency of those spoken lines and their ability to galvanize liberal Democrats and indepent voters. Dean wanted to "Take Back America" long before Kerry understood how many voters feel that way, too. By telling audiences "you have the power," he linked voting to change, the first step in taking back the White House. All the anti-Bush sentiment is meaningless if Bush opponents don't take the next step -- actually voting.
[...]
A June 8-9 national poll taken by Opinion Dynamcs Corp. for Fox News provides food for thought regarding a Kerry-Dean ticket. Overall, a Kerry-Dean ticket garnered support from 45 percent compared with 44 percent for Bush-Cheney. In the so-called battleground states, Kerry-Dean beat Bush-Cheney 48-42. The poll defines battleground states as: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The old conventional wisdom about a vice presidential candidate concludes that the best pick is the one who can deliver the electoral votes of his or her home state on Election Day. That is what keeps names like retiring Missouri congressman Richard Gephardt and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack in the mix. Neither excites, and one is virtually unknown beyond the corn belt. Dean's constituency is bigger than a single state. It's a movement synonymous with change and excitement.


These are good questions, but they have a good answer. The truth is that Dean's message himself was about transcending the divide of left-right, liberal-conservative, us-them. McCain on the ticket would represent a true bipartisanship in that mold, and the polls refloect this - the paltry 1-percentage advantage of a Kerry-Dean tickey over Bush-Cheney in a (meaningless) national poll pales next to the double-digit advantage that Kerry-McCain boasts of.

Like it or not, Dean was marginalized as a leftist during the primary, and now has embraced the lefft in his post-candidacy. The overall theme of DFA v2.0 is to support explicitly progressive, not moderate, candidates - including flawed ones like scandal-ridden Jim Moran who damage the cause of principled politics rather than advance it. It is inexcusable that Moran be supported, because it damages the claim that Dean is a principled advocate rather than an ideolouge - candidates who do not meet a certain ethical standard should be rejected on principle, not embraced because they have a (D) next to their name.

Partly due to the media crusade against him, and partly validated by his opwn post-candidacy choices, Dean does not represent a voice of moderation, let alone one of bipartisanship, to the average voter in the electorate at large. Dean's constituency is largely in the Kerry camp already, and the few die-hards ideological puritans who reject Kerry are going Nader (or staying home in a fit of pique). There is little evidence to support the claim that Dean could attract moderates in swing states to any large degree.

Overall, Dean's best role is to do what he is doing - encouraging democracy at the lowest level - the Dean Dozen programs that focus on building a true grassroots movement from the ground up, at the state and local levels. Democracy for America is a much-needed counterbalance to the post-Goldwater conservative grassroots movement. But that is strictly aimed at the base, whereas for the Chief Executive (and the Executive Branch as a whole) we need a more unifying figure. Dean can't bring about his vision of a true American Majority any longer, though he laid the essential framework (and I view the adoption of his talking points into Kerry's rhetoric as an explicit marker of success, not "rhetorical theft").

Dean's legacy now is to raise the roots - and that is going to take time. In the meantime, we have a corrupt Administration to defeat, and a re-unification of the political dialog about ideas (as Bill Clinton noted below).

 

Excerpt from Gov. Dean's web chat http://www.democracyforamerica.com/features/2004/06/09/web_chat_with_governor_dean_6904.php

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, June 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
the single most important question asked, and its answer:

MRT for Dean:Melissa: Gov. Dean--please help us rally behind Kerry. Many of us have worked hard in local campaigns (me for Richard Morrison) but I personally can't bear to wear a Kerry shirt. Others have expressed the same reluctance. What could you say to motivate us?

Moderator/Gov. Dean: Think of it this way - which candidate will be better for American's environment? Bush or Kerry? Which candidate has a better record on balancing the budget? Bush or Kerry? Which candidate has universal health care as part of their platform? Bush or Kerry? Which candidates has early childhood education in their platform? Bush or Kerry?

Rallying behind Kerry is a no brainer for me.

Monday, June 14, 2004

 

I choose not to be a cynic http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40670-2004Jun14.html

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
President Bush, on President Clinton:

The years have done a lot to clarify the strengths of this man. As a candidate for any office, whether it be the state attorney general or the president, Bill Clinton showed incredible energy and great personal appeal.As chief executive, he showed a deep and far- ranging knowledge of public policy, a great compassion for people in need, and the forward-looking spirit that Americans like in a president. Bill Clinton could always see a better day ahead and Americans knew he was working hard to bring that day closer.


President Clinton:

This is a great country. Politics is noble work.I've just been doing some interviews in connection with my book, and I told Mr. Ryder (ph) yesterday, I said, "You know, Most the people I've known in this business, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, were good people, honest people, and they did what they thought was right. And I hope that I'll live long enough to see American politics return to vigorous debates where we argue who's right and wrong, not who's good and bad.

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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.