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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, May 27, 2003


let Howard Dean be Howard Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, May 27, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Joe Trippi does have posting priveleges to the blog, but he seems to save his best stuff for the comments threads :)

Gov. Dean defies labels. But there is a string that runs through most everything he does, his positions and his record. He really did make sure that nearly 100% of those under 18 in his state received health care -- there are very few (liberals or conservatives) that have produced those kind of results -- including a 43% reduction in child abuse in his state and a 71% reduction in sexual abuse against children over the 10 years he was Governor. During that same period many progressives faulted Gov. Dean for his fiscal restraint -- they believed that he was not committed to spending enough on social programs when times were good economically. Gov. Dean stated then, as he states today -- that the best guarantee of social policy is to balance the budget in a strong economy -- because fewer people need help -- and it is this fiscal restraint on his part that makes it possible for Vermont to continue to help those who need these programs now -- in a down economy when people most need it.

He is for a strong defense -- and a stronger homeland security -- what he is against is a doctrine of preemptive war that turns 40 years of bi-partisan consensus on the use of US military power in the world on its head. Yes it turns out that if you agree with Ike, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Bush 1 -- you characterized as a left wing-nut.

The sorry fact is that too many in the Democratic Party bought this line of thinking and never really challenged the doctrine let alone debated it. There is something very different about Gov. Dean from the rest of the field -- he has demonstrated that he is willing to put his political career on the line by standing up for what he believes regardless of the polls and the conventional wisdom. 65% of the people of Vermont opposed civil unions 6 months before the election. Howard Dean signed the bill -- and he won. 75% of Americans supported the war in Iraq -- Howard Dean opposed it -- and opposese the doctrine of preemption to this day. He says every day on the campaign trail that the great lie is "elect me, and I will solve all your problems" and that the unspoken truth is that the future of our country rests in your hands. As someone who has worked with him for nearly a dozen years -- he is who he is. Around here what we say is let Howard Dean be Howard Dean -- I gave up trying to define him long ago. One of the things that is disconcerting is to see how hard it is for some to "believe in" someone again. The difference in Howard Dean is he doesn't want us to believe in him -- he wants us to believe in ourselves and our power to change our country.

Joe Trippi | Homepage | 05.23.03 - 8:58 pm | #


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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.