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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, December 12, 2003


Be careful of what you wish for

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, December 12, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Robert A. George, one of the thoughtful conservatives (as opposed to the default GOP cheerleaders) at National Review, is one of the few that understand that Dean is not to be underestimated - and that Bush is not infallible:

The key problem is that Bush's spending makes the traditional Republican charge of Democrats as tax-and-spenders that much more difficult. The current Dean stump speech accuses Bush of being a "borrow-and-spender" and points to the "$500 billion deficit" as the product of these policies. Will the American public be open to a debate on possible tax increases from a Democrat as a Republican incumbent promises to control spending in the future — after he's passed the biggest entitlement expansion in the last 40 years? The answer is not as automatic as one might think.

The conservatives quoted in the Post article aren't going to vote for a Democrat. However, in recent weeks, I've found myself conversing with other otherwise right-leaning types who admit they could at least consider voting for either a Democrat or a third-party candidate before automatically supporting Bush's reelection.

This is brutal honesty which the "Bring Dean on!" camp of the GOP true believers will not be able to swallow. It's fallacious to assume that the GOP policymakers believe the spin they marke to the base, and that Rove really believes that Dean is going to be a cakewalk. But the strategy of conservatives trying to paint Dean as McGovern in the minds of Democrats might well backfire - by painting Dean as McGovern in the eyes of Republicans. The same point has been made over at Kos:

Here's the question: is Rove cocky and foolish, or is this part of his strategy? (Ok, it's Rove, so its definitely part of his strategy. Is his strategy well-founded?)

Does the dismissal of Dean benefit the Democrats, by lowering expectations to the point that the GOP will be totally unprepared for the Might Of Trippi & DFA? Or is Rove's Inevitabilty trick gonna work twice in a row?

The answer is: BOTH. The challenge is to play down the threat to Bush for the conservative audience, and to play up the threat to the liberal and moderate one. The bottom line for us as Dean supporters is to guard against complacence, and draw inspiration, not apathy, from the successes of the past month.


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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.