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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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Saturday, May 31, 2003


Dr. No and the Yes Men

posted by Editor at Saturday, May 31, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
This article in the New York Times begins by painting Dean in a fairly positive light. He is the little known candidate who stormed upon the campaign trail.
Howard Dean is the guy who has dictated the theme of this early campaign season. Once written off as a little man from a little state, Dean has expertly framed the 2004 nomination fight as a choice between white-hot liberal rage on one side and the room-temperature promise of ''electability'' on the other. ''Democrats are furious at their own party,'' Dean says. ''They feel like the party's leaders have taken a pass.''

It does, however, seem to cast a shadow of unelectability on Gov. Dean:
The bad news for Dean's rivals, however, is that Democratic protest candidates have proved very effective at indelibly soiling whatever image the party is trying to convey at the moment. And you have to wonder if the other candidates, ensconced in Washington, have any real grasp of the grass-roots revolt that is fueling Dean's momentum. It's not surprising that the party's leaders feel like shoving Dean's stethoscope down his throat when he says they only care about sounding electable. What's harder to understand is why they seem so determined to prove him right.

I've heard this arguement and the past, and my response has generally been that Gov. Dean is not the far left liberal he is often painted as (just as the left wingers in VT who often felt frustrated). The author picks up on this theme:
If Dean ever belonged to the ''Democratic wing of the Democratic Party'' before this year, he must have kept his membership secret. During his five two-year terms as governor, Dean was proud to be known as a pragmatic New Democrat, in the Clinton mold, boasting that neither the far right nor the far left had much use for him. He signed into law a measure that legalized civil unions for gay couples, a decision that was essentially mandated by the state's Supreme Court. But he also faced opposition from the left-leaning Progressive Party in two re-election campaigns. And he forcefully upheld the rights of Vermonters to carry concealed guns wherever they went, which helped him earn an A rating from the National Rifle Association.

It writes a bit as well about the amazing take off that the governor's speach to the DNC winter meeting resulted in:
In November, Dean's campaign was getting about 50 e-mail messages a day from supporters; after Dean gave a fiery speech to the Democratic National Committee in February, which began with an indictment of the war, as many as 2,000 e-mail messages arrived in a single day. Polling data showed Dean's support shifting from white men and independents to women and younger voters. Dean raised a surprising $2.6 million in the first quarter of the year, outdoing his opponents in two of the most liberal enclaves in America: Cambridge, Mass., and Beverly Hills, Calif.

Turmoil at his Burlington headquarters reflected the leftward lurch of Dean's campaign. In April, Rick Ridder, his pragmatic campaign manager, left and was replaced by Joe Trippi, the insurgent strategist who had run Jerry Brown's 1992 campaign against Clinton.

Dean's campaign, meanwhile, has become an online juggernaut. On the Web site, some 24,000 Dean supporters, at last count, had scheduled monthly meetings in more than 250 American cities. ''You've heard of the silent majority?'' says Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster. ''Well, Dean represents the screaming minority.''

Overall, it's an interesting read. There's a lot more I'd post here, but I trust that many of you will read it all anyhow!


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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.