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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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Thursday, November 02, 2006


John Kerry and the Wisdom of the Crowd

posted by Dignan at Thursday, November 02, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
It is generally said that there is wisdom is crowds. And this is often the case. However in election season those crowds turn into mobs and the wisdom disappears.

This latest Kerry flap is just the latest example of this. The majority of the conservative blogosphere is roiling with righteous indignation about Kerry, hoping that this is their "October surprise". (Fortunately, a few of my favorites including James Lileks, Rod Dreher, and La Shawn Barber are not drinking the Kool-Aid). After hearing many conservatives scream for years about wanting to campaign on the issue, it is disheartening to see so many jumping on the bandwagon of a non-issue.

I suppose what keeps me from being a cynic is being willing to assume the best of people, not the worst. Some might think that this goes against my Christian theology (original sin and all that) but it doesn't. While we are all certainly flawed and make mistakes on a daily basis, we are also made in the image of God (memo to my conservative friends: yes, that means liberals too).

If Kerry says that his intention was to malign President Bush then I take him at his word. It is still a ridiculous blunder, especially for a man who aspired to the presidency. But why is it necessary to pile on and assume the absolute worst of Kerry and hang him like an albatross around the necks of the Democrats?

Of course Democrats have done no different during this campaign season. They are still trying to hang the loathsome Mark Foley on every Republican incumbent. And Jack Abramoff.

I don't even really mind negative campaigning so long as it is true and relevant. But there are fewer things less attractive that overplaying one's hand.


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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.