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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, October 21, 2003


Welcome to the Dean Army

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, October 21, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
LOVE this article from the Village Voice, which examines the open-source campaign of Howard Dean. There's several quotes from the grassroots which - IMO - correctly summarise how vested we are in this campaign and why we're all willing to work so hard to get Howard elected.
From the outside, Dean's great innovation appears to be his willingness to trust; certainly the network of activism that cradles him depends heavily on it. From the perspective of the Dean HQ, this means relying on the activists to faithfully echo his positions on the issues. That shouldn't be difficult—the Internet is Dean's indispensable confederate, and his disciples say it not only provides them a community and a voice, but also all the tools—like posters and position papers—that they need to become, in the words of one supporter, "Dean franchisees."
Dean's side of the bargain is, on the surface, even simpler: His supporters count on him to dethrone George W. Bush. "This campaign is about hope and change," said Thomas Chew, speaking as he passed out Dean flyers at a gathering of activists near Prospect Park last weekend. "It's about hoping to change the president." If that sounds scripted, it wasn't.

Imagine that - a campaign that trusts the grassroots! However, as the campaign progresses, I can understand a need to tighten up the message. We each have our own way of expressing what it is about this campaign that has renewed our hope for the future, and that has carried us thus far. But when the general election rolls around, the message will most likely need to be refined and communicated in a more unified way. What challenges do we face as we approach the primaries? How can we refine the message while still empowering the grassroots? These are questions that we should be thinking about. Ideas?


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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.