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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, July 25, 2006


ideas trump politics

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, July 25, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
since people who don't casually surf the leftsphere, let alone consider themselves members, have a very skewedperspective of the Democratic partisan mind, I wanted to point out a post at activist site that gives a little more depth into the netroot mentality.

The basic issue here is that liberal voters - and this is especially true of the netroots - are proud of their beliiefs with respect to whether government can be a force for good, whether there is such a thing as a societal commons, whether there is a moral obligation upon those in society to help provide for those who are less capable by dint of circumstance or ability.

They are proud to be Democrats and believe that what Democrats have stood for over history is something to be defended. And I agree, though I am not a Democrat myself.

That is the true reason why, to take an example, Joe Lieberman is so hated. Because like many of the politicians in the DLC, but far more egregiously so, he advances his own political career at the expense of other Democrats. He deliberately embraces and validates the common theme promoted by Republicans, that Democrats stand for nothing and have no ideas, in order to distinguish themselves and claim that they do have ideas.

In that context, I want to highlight myDD's critique of the DLC meeting at which prominent DLCers like Clinton and Evan Bayh got up on stage and talked about how they plan to win elections. The answer in a nutshell: by announcing they would "move" to the center, implying that there is nothing in the broader Democratic platform that already occupies that space.

The key comment:

If you tell the country that your ideas are designed to win elections, then they won't think you stand for anything except winning elections. And then, well, you probably won't win many elections, because Americans don't like politicians who only stand for winning elections. If you want to do something, then just do it. Throwing the "this will get us elected" qualifier in front of your statements just makes us all look like spineless jackasses who are trying to pull one over on the electorate. If you want to talk faith, or be a centrist, or be a hawk, or stand on principles, then just go for it. Stop wasting our time and making us all look bad by telling us you are doing it in order to win elections.


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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.