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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


NO Sister Souljah moment, please!

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, December 12, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
I disagree with TNR's premise that a Sister Souljah moment is necessary:

we'd be surprised if Dean didn't make a fairly dramatic gesture to establish his moderate foreign policy bona fides shortly after winning the nomination--a kind of Sister Souljah strategy for the post-9/11 world. One can imagine Dean, for example, laying into some fringe antiwar group, whose views, he might explain, were toxic to the debate over foreign policy and ultimately unhelpful to the cause of stabilizing Iraq (now that we're there) and winning the larger war on terror.

The same line is echoed by TEDM. As the TNR piece notes, Dean has indeed said, "There are two groups of people who support me because of the war. One are the people who always oppose every war, and in the end I think I probably won't get all of those people." But is that really a foreshadowing of a SS moment? I don't think so - it looks to me more like a simple statement of fact. And Dean is no peacenik - he has been clear in interviews that he'd have no hesitation in using American force when neccessary.

Again, the problem here is the implicit assumption that Dean has a foreign policy weakness that he needs to patch . This is false. He has an articulate foreign policy vision, and now with Gore's endorsement gains the support and consultation of one of the leading hawkish Democrats (one of the very few to have supported the first Gulf War).

And there's no need to cede the debate on defense and national security to Bush. Bush's record has made the country demonstrably less safe.

What advantage does pulling a SS moment serve, apart from anatagonizing Kucinich and Nader supporters? And undermining the case we need to make that Bush is the one with a foreign policy/defense problem?


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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.