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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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Saturday, December 06, 2003


Keep Those Cards And Letters Flowing

posted by Dana at Saturday, December 06, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
I posted this to the Dean Defense Forces blog, but I think it's important enough to be repeated here.

Nicholas Kristof (pictured) is out with the latest "conventional wisdom" about "why Dean can't win."

It lives, like the work of most Washington Democrats, in a steady-state universe. Fundamental change is not possible. Democrats must play the Republicans' game.

It ignores the possibility of a Big Bang.

The Dean Campaign is a Big Bang. It does not just attract Democrats. In fact, it repels many Democrats who have been in the party for decades. That's because it's bringing new people into the system.

Second, Kristof ignores Dean's attraction to Republicans. Deficit hawks are appalled by Bush' spending. Libertarians are appalled by Bush' embrace of extremist religious sects. Cold warriors question the strategy of fighting on the other sides' terms.

Dean has answers for all these dissidents. He is a deficit hawk. He has a compromise on gay marriage. He promises to de-Americanize the Iraq struggle.

Transformation happens when the assumptions of the past fail in the real world. Does Kristof have any doubt that the Iraq policy is failing, that tax-cutting is creating a ruinous deficit, or that the old saw of blaming the hippies for everything has grown tired?

George McGovern had no Republican support, which Dean has. McGovern brought no new voters to the system, as Dean has. McGovern represented the last gasp of a New Deal democracy, the optimistic side of the Greatest Generation. He was hammered because there was a new coalition, a cynical Nixon-Wallace coalition, which was getting out of Vietnam (albeit slowly), which had balanced the budget (at least once), and which (if Kristof has forgotten) would STEAL the 1972 election, resulting in Nixon's impeachment.

What do Kristof's "electable" Democrats have to offer in contrast? Nothing but the same tired strategies, and the same tired proposals, that have given us defeat-after-defeat for a decade now.

Maybe Dean will lose. But you need to let Kristof know, now, that he's also the only Democrat with a hope of winning. Because Howard Dean is the only Democrat who is Changing the Game, on the ground, thematically, in every way possible.

Howard Dean has said, repeatedly, that insanity is doing the same thing time-after-time expecting a different result. Howard Dean is no re-run.


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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.