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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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Friday, November 07, 2008


Obama's mandate: center-left nation

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, November 07, 2008 permalink View blog reactions
North Carolina makes nine red states flipped to blue. And Texas is on track for 2012. With the axiom that the popular vote is the best metric for gauging the existence of a mandate, I look at the numbers and conclude that Obama has a clearer mandate from the people than any President in recent history.

However something that the far left will need to understand is that the mandate is for Obama, not them. The liberal leftist netroots are self-described as "progressive" - which is unabashedly NOT "center-left". The netroots played a major role in Obama's victory but in another sense, they were also irrelevant, since Obama created his online base virtually from scratch (the netroots are, however, much more directly responsible for the Congressional downballot successes). So, expectations of a "progressive" agenda are probably going to be met with disappointment, as Obama's instincts are soldily centrist. The netroots know it too - look at this by Bowers at OpenLeft where he details all the ways in which Rahm fails to live up to progressive orthodoxy. This rift between Rahm and the progressives is not easy for even sharply intelligent commentators like Larison to discern, let alone the establishment media pundits.

Clinton, in contrast to Obama, was a center-right politician, so Obama will definitely pursue a more liberal agenda, on average, but his general approach will still be coalition-minded and incremental rather than bold and ideological. We have a technocrat in the White House come January.

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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.