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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, August 12, 2003


Lost in Translation

posted by Joe at Tuesday, August 12, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
So one line I didn't get to in the recap of last night's forum, but which The Note helpfully reprints, was by John Kerry as he belittled Howard Dean's health plan:
"I don't think you can translate the experience of a state with a budget of less than a billion dollars to the United States."
Well, the Arkansas state budget in 1991 was less than $2 billion, and Bill Clinton somehow miraculously managed to translate those budget small-scale budget skills as president.

I guess the response to John Kerry would be two-fold. First, Howard Dean has experience writing a balanced budget and leading a legislature -- of any size -- to pass it. John Kerry does not.

Second, notwithstanding John Kerry's votes for President Clinton's balanced budget, it might be said that being just one single vote of a hundred simply doesn't translate into the kind of experience necessary to lead the country back into an era of fiscal sanity.

Of course, I wish Dean wouldn't say any of this just as I wish Kerry wouldn't have made his disingenuous charge. People spend a lot of time talking about "personal attacks" in an effort to get candidates to focus on each other's record. But I think it's probably equally if not more important to chastise candidate for the kind of disingenous "concern" about the other guy's experience or agenda.

Surely enough differences exist between Kerry's and Dean's respective programs that they can be argued on the merits without this kind of glib insincerity.


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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.