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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, April 10, 2003


postwar Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, April 10, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Of course, the war isn't over yet. But it's quite ludicrous to suggest any other outcome than total Bush Administration victory. The big question is, how will this affect the political calculus? The article linked above is an overview of the Democratic candidates reactions to the historic images and events yesterday, as well as an analysis of their potential strategies. Clearly, Edwards and Lieberman are poised to benefit from their consistent support of war on Iraq - but the real question is, will they leverage it against Dean (whose position, as well know, has been steadily and consistently mis-represented as "anti-war" in the conventional wisdom).

I was disappointed in Dean's response:

“We’ve gotten rid of him [Saddam Hussein]. I suppose that’s a good thing,” said Dean. But he added the post-war occupation of Iraq is “going to cost the American taxpayers a lot of money that could be spent on schools and kids.”

He "supposes" that removing Saddam was a good thing? This is uncharacteristically vague of Dean. The reality is that Saddam is gone and the joy we saw on television yesterday was real. This needs to be recognized, regardless of all other issues. Grudgingly admitting it was sort-of okay I guess whatever is transparently hedging. Also, the angle of attack that is developing seems to be a focus on cost. This also is a mistake, because it plays into the view of Democrats as obsessed with minor details and Republicans as the ones with the Big Vision. That was the route to losing the midterms in 2002.

How can Dean retake the initiative? What are the real critiques that Dean needs to make? Why would it have been better if he, not Bush was in charge? These are hard questions but we expect our candidate to be able to field them.

A New Hampshire Lieberman supporter, state Rep. Peter Sullivan, told “the position held by Dr. Dean and Rep. Kucinich now looks absurd. Had we followed their approach, we would be bogged down in a festering diplomatic and human rights quagmire that could easily have endured for another decade.”

OUCH. Dean needs to respond. Quickly.

UPDATE: great line from the comment thread:
First it was a a link to al Quaeda which was a fantasy, then it was because of a nuclear program that turned out to be a fraud, then it was about weapons of mass distruction that we haven't found, and now that it's over it it's about liberating the Iraqi people.
as well as a link to Dean's seven-point plan for Winning the Peace at That WAS quick :)


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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.