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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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Friday, October 10, 2003


Debate Recap

posted by Amanda at Friday, October 10, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Anna's already done an excellent rundown on last night's debate (see below). This morning, our buds over at Liberal Oasis weigh in with their take. It’s a long post, but here are the highlights:

1. All the Dems, except (barely) John Kerry, get slammed for not mentioning the Plame scandal. Why this outrage wasn’t hammered away at relentlessly by all the candidates, but especially Dean, is a mystery to LO -- and to me, frankly. Major flub by Dean, imo.

2. Clark’s position on the Iraq war is quite similar to Kerry’s making it all the more odd that Kerry attacked Clark on the war resolution issue. Um, John, what is up?

3. On the Judy Woodruff ambush with the Kerry quote, LO slams Woodruff for flirting with bottom of the barrel journalistic standards a la Tim Russert’s ambush of Dean with cooked up Bush Administration numbers (I’m sensing a pattern here).

As for the specifics of the Kerry attack on Dean’s record:

Kerry’s right on the technicals, but he leaves out a huge chunk of context.

Dean did propose such a budget. But it was a dare. A scare tactic. Political gamesmanship to get what he wanted.


As these disputes continue to show, Dean is a balanced-budget hard-ass.
You can argue that being cheap hurts people. Dean would most likely argue he’s protecting these programs in the long-run by keeping them solvent.

The overaching lesson here? Governing’s a bitch.

These are the kind of hard questions that (non-Dubya) executives have to face up to, and their choices show their character and their principles.

It’s completely fair to question Dean’s record, which appears to be as imperfect and messy as anyone whose been around long enough.

But Kerry doesn’t spark healthy discussion that educates voters when he goes for the cheap shot that only tells a slice of the story.


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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.