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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 18, 2003


Friends Like These

posted by Matt Singer at Thursday, December 18, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The Washington Post, which recently had the good sense to rebuke that 527 (are they called Americans for Slander, Libel, and Progress, something like that?) that attacked Dean for being weak on national security, yet now their own editorial page writes what could have been copy for that offensive ad.

Declaring Dean "beyond the mainstream," the editorial makes a few arguments, but none of them are what I call "sound."
Yet there are important differences between the Democratic front-runner, Howard Dean, and the other five. In his speech Monday, Mr. Dean alone portrayed the recruiting of allies for Iraq as a means to "relieve the burden on the U.S." -- that is, to quickly draw down American forces.
Is there something wrong with this?
Only he omitted democracy from his goals for Iraq and the Middle East.
As I've said before at NotGeniuses, there is nothing inherently wrong with that. It is no more America's job to decide democracy for the Middle East than it was Saddam's job to decide Saddam for Kuwait. And there are real dangers to trying to impose democracy. Now, if the Washington Post is upset thtat Dean is just ignoring rhetoric and trying to actually the gauge the problem and possible solutions, I suppose that is fine, but is anything wrong with promoting an outside view on foreign policy? Dean is far less of a foreign policy radical than Bush, which is demonstrated by the lengthy list of luminaries recently released by Burlington. Yet the papers herald a revolutionary power as bold and visionary, which, granted, I suppose it is, while attacking a man seeking stability and safety within the world. The Post has bought the Administration's line.
And only Mr. Dean made the extraordinary argument that the capture of Saddam Hussein "has not made Americans safer."
This argument is, actually, not all that extraordinary. An extraordinary argument would have to be far more complex than this argument is, as we shall see. Here's the argument I believe Dean was making:
  1. Any danger Saddam Hussein posed would be as a result of him having an organization that could carry out his nefarious schemes.

  2. Such an organization could be governmental or non-governmental.

  3. He was removed from his role as head of a government.

  4. Therefore, if he was to pose a danger, he would have to be heading a dangerous non-governmental organization.

  5. He was in a god damn hole.

  6. People in god damn holes are rarely running anything, unless by "running anything" you mean "running from everything."

  7. Therefore, Saddam was likely not posing a danger to the world.

  8. Therefore, capturing Saddam likely did not make America a safer place.

Care to respond Post-ie?


That's what I thought.

Regardless, this editorial should have been dismissed on face just for this statement in the opening paragraph:
and shadow candidate Hillary Clinton
Referring to Clinton as a candidate is always a sure sign that NewsMax has hijacked another editorial page.

Sure glad we have that whole liberal media going on.


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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.