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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, August 07, 2003


Dean: The Democrats' Reagan?

posted by Christopher at Thursday, August 07, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Funny how columnists keep writing about Dean as a "McGovern-type" candidate. A few have begun to pick up on the fact that he may actually be the Democrats' Ronald Reagan. A highly popular (if polarizing) figure who revives his party by aggressively and unabashedly pursuing core party principles. Reagan was able to reach people in the middle - remember Reagan Democrats? - just as Dean is reaching out to budget hawks who recoil at the Bush Administration's lack of fiscal discipline. Dean Republicans, anyone?

George Will writes about this, and about why an energized base matters in this frontloaded primary season in his column in today's Washington Post (although he draws the comparison not to Reagan, but to Goldwater who initially re-energized conservatives and set the stage for Reagan some twenty years later):

'To those who call him "polarizing," Dean can respond: How do you polarize a polarized electorate? Some in the White House believe that true independents -- those whose votes really are up for grabs, as distinguished from those who call themselves independents but almost always vote one way -- are only about 7 percent of the electorate.

If so, the 2004 election, even more than most elections, will turn on the parties' ability to turn out their committed supporters. And some in the White House are beginning to worry about Dean because he understands that venting may be a practical precursor to governing: Venting energizes the party's base.'


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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.