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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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Thursday, December 11, 2003


Follow The General

posted by Dana at Thursday, December 11, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Since the Gore endorsement we've been getting a lot of advice, sometimes couched alongside threats, from the ranks of Dean Nation.

Dean should do this, or Dean better do this or I'm deserting for the other side. That kind of thing.

In most campaigns, that would be bad. In this campaign, it's good. It means you're thinking, you're engaged, you're interested.

Every private wants to be the General. Every citizen wants to be the President. Most think they can do a better job. Some are certain of it. (And some are even right.)

But we have a President, Howard Dean, and a General, Joe Trippi. I don't agree with them all the time. You may not even agree with them most of the time.

But even if you're smarter than they are, and better looking than they are (are you listening General Clark?) you need to accept that Dean is our leader, and that Trippi is his General, for a reason.

I've always liked Dean for the same reason Lincoln liked Grant. He fights. But experts have now spent nearly 150 years questioning Grant's strategic judgement, and they may spend nearly as much time in the future on Trippi. (Certainly it will seem like it.)

For now I'm going to listen to what another smarter man said about another quieter man, on another battlefield, in another time. (And thanks to Atrios, or an Atrios reader, for digging this up.)

"Wilson, I'm a damned sight smarter man than Grant; I know more about organization,supply and administration and about everything else than he does; but I'll tell you where he beats me and where he beats the world. He don't give a damn for what the enemy does out of his sight but it scares me like hell. I'm more nervous than he is. I am much more likely to change my orders or to countermarch my command than he is. He uses such information as he has according to his best judgement; he issues his orders and does his level best to carry them out without much reference to what is going on about him...."

Howard Dean is the best thematic candidate our party has had since Franklin Roosevelt. Joe Trippi is his General. Trust them, follow them. Don't worry about what the other side is going to do to us. Worry about executing on what we're going to do to them.

That's the way to victory.


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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.