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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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Monday, November 13, 2006


a defense of Al Gore, and initial '08 thoughts by Trippi

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, November 13, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
fantastic diary by NuevoLiberal in defense of Gore's liberal credentials, policy acumen, and general awesomeness (yeah I am biased ok?). Lots of links. A must-read.

FWIW the conventional wisdom is that Gore will run in 08 despite his denials. Especially since Warner (the centrist) and Feingold (the progressive) have opted out. Joe Trippi has a piece in the WaPo about the frontrunners (written prior to Feingold's statement). Heres the items of particular interest to me:

Front-runner: Hillary Rodham Clinton

She has it all -- the ability to raise the money; a political team that's among the best, if not the best, in the party; a strong base of support; and an uncanny ability to avoid political mistakes. And I don't care what anyone says -- her husband is one of two rock stars in the Democratic Party and a huge asset.

Ironically, the problem with Clinton's candidacy arises from her strength. Front-runners have something to lose, so they almost always run cautious, safe campaigns. This almost cost John Kerry the nomination in 2004, and could cost the senator from New York the nomination in 2008. Her strength also creates the certainty that a campaign of bold new ideas will emerge to oppose her. She is so strong within the party that, with so many contemplating a run against her, the only viable option for a serious challenger is to put forth innovative ideas in hopes of breaking out of the pack. And there are plenty in the Democratic Party who are capable of doing that.

The Oxygen Taker: Al Gore

Talk about setting a progressive agenda with bold new ideas. The man is doing it and he doesn't even have a job. In a party that tends to treat its past nominees like lepers, Gore has done an amazing job of reemerging as an important thought leader on issues such as the Iraq war and global warming. If he throws his hat into the ring, he will immediately suck all the oxygen out of the room for most of the other candidates. The media won't be able to stop doing the Hillary vs. Al 800-pound-gorillas-go-at-it stories. Everyone but Obama will be reduced to begging for attention. But entering the race means he suddenly would have something to lose. Could candidate Gore stop himself from playing it safe?

The Champion of 2006: John Edwards

Hands down the guy who improved his position the most this year. Edwards leads the field in early polls in Iowa, which is more important than ever, because the 2008 nominating process is more front-loaded than in prior years. The former North Carolina senator has a bevy of ideas, and is the only Southerner, important to a party that has elected only two presidents in the past 30 years -- both from the South. All of which earns him a down arrow -- because once you take the lead in Iowa, the entire field tries to destroy you. Good luck.

I don't really consider Obama, Richardson, or Bayh to be viable. Biden is interesting. Kerry is out - I'll vote for the Republican or not vote at all. Clark and Vilsack are more veepish as far as I am concerned - they really have to distinguish themselves. And Clark carries Clinton baggage, so if he does declare and Hillary is running as assumed, there might be issues there.


I am astonished about the lack of attention a potential Gore 2008 run is getting. Hello, the guy one a national election the last time he ran but was SHAFTED! In essence, he is the only person capable of derailing the Hillary Express. He was right on the war (she wasn't), and would have no problem fund raising or with name recognition. Plus he has won widespread acclaim recently for being a visionary and leader regarding the environment.


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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.