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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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Sunday, January 14, 2007


Why Edwards over Obama?

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, January 14, 2007 permalink View blog reactions
I think it largely inevitable that Obama will declare his presidential ambitions before the end of January. I am a native of Illinois, and have a deep respect for this man. But I think that in the end he is running for the wrong reasons. His motives are gold, but his assessment and strategy are based on the reality crafted by fawning media coverage, and the illusion of invincibility that arises from never having truly been tested in a national campaign by a worthy opponent.

In a nutshell, Obama is being seduced by the tales of his own prowess and his own exceptionalism.

Edwards, meanwhile, is walking a deliberately harder path. Edwards gave up his Senate seat in 2004 to run and has spent the intervening two years building genuine grassroots organizations. And now as he announces his campaign he is embracing the very issues that even mainstream liberals tend to overlook - the poor, the weak. The symbolism of announcing from New Orleans brings tears to the eye - a commitment and statement about just who Edwards has in mind. Recall that no other candidate in 2000 even mentioned poverty - not even my champion, Howard Dean - as a policy goal.

Ultimately, Obama's desire for the presidency makes him a less effective Senator. Edwards is the one who has demonstrated a willingness to challenge the status quo, whereas Obama seeks to build consensus across an aisle and a divide that has been poisoned. Do we seek incremental change or revolutionary progress? That is the choice before us.

Edwards has my support, unless Gore runs. I regret that I must publicly hope that Obama decides to serve the people of Illinois and the nation as Senator, completing his term and being a force for renewal and ethical action, rather than waste the opportunity he has been handed in a bid for the Presidency.


Well said, Aziz. Edwards is making all the right moves, while Obama is making all the wrong ones.

It's too bad, because I think they are very similar in certain ways. I'd love, just LOVE, to see an Edwards/Obama ticket.


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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.