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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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Monday, July 28, 2003


phase II: a message of optimism and hope

posted by annatopia at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
CNN has a nice bit about the Iowa Dean Corps today, who have been volunteering at food banks and soup kitchens across Iowa. While the idea of volunteerism is nothing new, columnist Mark Sheilds (of CNN's Capital Gang) nails it when he says that the underlying message of this work is optimism and hope:

The Dean Corps has already been involved in environmental cleanups, which given the popular image of the Vermonter's following, is not surprising. But if a presidential campaign actually does perform valuable human and social service and helps to restore a fraying sense of community, that could potentially change the entire dynamic of the caucus turnout next January 19.

Imagine the profound contrast between the Dean campaign volunteers feeding the hungry and comforting the lonely with the Bush pioneer/rangers corralling their $200 million swag for a primary in which the president is unopposed.

It's called the Great American Restoration, and Dean outlined this theme in his speech to the nation on June 23. It's isn't a gimmick, it's a real movement to restore the American community. Sheilds goes on to draw an interesting comparison between Dean and his predecessors:

But unlike the Gipper, who put a smiling face on conservatism, the doctor does not brim with optimism. The self-deprecating humor is neither particularly self-deprecating nor funny. He is a candidate who seems likely to win more admiration than affection. It is worth remembering that in the last half century only two American politicians have served two terms in the White House.

Both were invincible optimists -- Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton

Now we're talking. Most of the members of this community have tried repeatedly to make the point that this campaign is about hope. It's about that feeling you get when you finally realise that you can make a difference. It's about channelling your energy into a positive force for change. Dean Corps in Iowa is doing it, the grassroots is doing it, and so are thousands of donors. Thanks, Mark Shields, for helping us spread the word.


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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.