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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, January 07, 2003


The Best Medicine

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, January 07, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
An interesting piece in the New York Times Magazine, which looks at the rise of doctors in politics (as opposed to the current domination of the field by lawyers). It wistfully wonders how Dean and Frist might enrich the public debate:

There are a lot of issues right now that I would like to hear Frist and Dean discuss. After all, more and more of policy is tied to medicine: AIDS, stem-cell research, health insurance and H.M.O.'s, Medicare, prescription drug benefits, drug use and mental illness. It would be thrilling to have these issues considered as science instead of as politics and morality. And there's no reason to think that they would have to stop at medicine. Good doctors understand how affordable housing, a good education and secure jobs actually contribute to our physical health. I would rather trust a doctor to make a decision about war than I would a businessman or a lawyer; a doctor is more likely to remember the value of the lives he would be sacrificing.

No one says that doctors are infallible or even capable of across-the-board good judgment. The story of the surgeon who left the operating room in the middle of a case to deposit his paycheck springs to mind. Still, I think a healthy dose of doctoring may be what our government needs. Then we can add a sentence to the bottom of the presidential seal: First do no harm.


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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.