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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, November 04, 2003


Sing it with me now: "Can Anyone Stop Dean? 3.0"

posted by Amanda at Tuesday, November 04, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Obviously, there's a long road ahead and we absolutely must not take anything for granted or get complacent. We need to act like we're 20 points down, frankly.

That said, the trends are looking pretty darn good for the Dean campaign. In the third installment of Liberal Oasis' ever popular "Can Anyone Stop Dean?" series, the answer is "Probably Not" and the why is "Because Dean=Clintonesque."

(Previous installments of "Can Anyone Stop Dean?" can be found here and here.)

Like many other Dean Nationals, I spent the weekend wondering if the Confederate flag snafu would hurt Dean, wondering if this was a major slip up or, instead, a minor blip. Consensus seems to be the later. (See posts below from other Dean Nationals about the Confederate flag controversy/fallout.)

LO notes that Dean does have the tendency to make blunt comments that sometimes have the potential to get him into trouble and his opponents know this -- and, more importantly, they know that his bluntness is one of the few targets they have left in their arsenal to try to stop the good Doc's rise.

However, in this case, LO argues that several factors (which also bode well overall for the future of the campaign) kept the story from taking root and becoming a crisis: (1) Jesse Jackson, Jr. gave Dean cover quickly and the NAACP didn't hop on the bandwagon as a result; (2) DFA's press operation effectively countered the criticism by pointing out that the Confederate flag bit has been part of Dean's stump speech for many months and no one has objected until now; (3) Kerry, surprisingly, didn't pile on after making the initial charge; and (4) DFA has and will continue to have the money to respond to these kinds of attacks.

Beyond gently admonishing Dean for "forgetting that context matters," LO argues that this episode highlights

…one of things about Dean’s candidacy that’s so promising: the potential ability to take liberal principles, bring them to new audiences, and forge a winning coalition.

It’s disconcerting that other candidates want to polarize matters when Dean is showing some success at building bridges.

But if Dean can say what he said, weather an attack like this, and still cultivate diverse support, then maybe his political acumen is more Clintonesque than people realized.

Hear, hear!

As Dana notes in comments, Dean = BTC (Better Than Clinton). Indeed.


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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.