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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, July 15, 2003


Salon and Judis smacked by readers

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, July 15, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Salon has published some of the letters that they received in response to Judis' "The Trouble with Howard Dean" article. They are excellent, detailed, and persuasive. Here's excerpts from two of my favorites:

At a recent meeting of Howard Dean supporters in St. Paul an attendee brought with her a petition for the repeal of a recent Minnesota law permitting the carrying of concealed weapons in our state. Although we were all there to attend a Dean MeetUp and not to discuss the gun issue, people eagerly signed her petition. At one point a young woman said something like, "I don't know if Dean would sign that," and we all had a chuckle. As a governor whose moderate position on guns earned him the endorsement of the NRA, we were well aware that Dean's position on guns was more to the right than many of ours.
Most of us who are supporting Dean are fully aware of the issues on which we agree, and do not agree with him. I looked at the available candidates and loved Dr. Dean's candor, passion, and his principled decision to speak out about issues even as others around him disagreed with him. People suffering from Beltway blues such as John Judis are so blinded by Dean's antiwar position (and their own blind kowtowing to President Bush's disastrous foreign policy) that they fundamentally misunderstand why Dean has attracted such a strong, loyal following. Many of us have looked at his record, seen him as a centrist who is electable, and have become supporters.

It's the backbone, stupid.

So, the Weekly Standard insists that Howard Dean most resembles Clinton, and John Judis counters that Dean is the next McGovern. I guess that's what news analysts do -- take a cursory glance, then thumb through the history books for an easy analogy.

Everyone with a news column is trying to pigeonhole Dean: He's the anti-Iraqi war candidate, he's the Internet candidate, or he's the doctor turned governor. While the analysts cluck their tongues that Dean doesn't have a chance, close to 200,000 people have signed up as supporters for the Dean campaign six months before the primary. In my community, I've met hundreds of people who are excited about democracy again because of Howard Dean.

Judis' suggestion for "bland" Democratic candidates is laughable. The election of 2002 showed us that it wasn't enough for the Bush administration and Republicans to return to ruinous fiscal and foreign policies for Democrats to win. The Democratic Party had to show real leadership and stand up for our common principles. Howard Dean has stepped forward to provide that leadership. Ultimately that's the source of the excitement around his campaign.

there are two full pages of these, well worth reading all!


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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.