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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 13, 2003


What We Should Fear

posted by Brian Ulrich at Saturday, December 13, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
By now, we've all seen the ad, visually linking Dean to Osama bin Laden while insisting the American people will not elect him President because he "just cannot compete with George Bush on foreign policy."

What a load of hooey.

But that was not the only video that surfaced yesterday. The other video I'm thinking of was an hour and a half long, and given to the BBC in Pakistan. It shows the Taliban, who really do belong next to Bin Laden, roaming freely in southern Afghanistan, while building bombs and preparing missiles with which to kill those brave American soldiers who are still fighting those who attacked us on September 11.

This is a war that remains unfinished in part because George Bush decided he'd rather use September 11 as an excuse to attack someone else. Today, even as the loya jirga meets to debate the country's constitution, the UN threatens to pull out if security does not improve. More troops are needed to control the country, and they are not forthcoming, most especially from a U.S. military already stretched thin in Iraq.

One could also note that efforts to thwart the funding of terrorist groups are failing, even as these terrorist groups adapt to the post-Sept. 11 world and continues their actions unabated.

True, there has not been another attack on American soil since September 11. There was also not one on American soil for years before September 11. Polls show that Americans do not feel safer today than they did then, and a majority rate American efforts to fight al-Qaeda as only "somewhat effective." This administration and the Congressional leadership have failed to provide effective leadership on national security. What we really have to fear is not Howard Dean, but that after for more years of this our enemies will have become even more dangerous than they were two years ago.

There's been an analogy in my head I haven't used much so as not to attack other Democrats, but that can's been opened. Based on my own personal experience, I've compared Dean to Gandalf the White in the Two Towers movie version freeing Theoden (Democrats) from the influence of Saruman and Grima Wormtongue (certain other candidates) who argue that there's no hope against Sauron (Bush) and that we have to be as much on their side as possible. Now it comes complete with Saruman arguing that the Democrats will fail of Dean exorcises them. And that is why, even when the hour looks bleak, I would say, like Aragorn, "Ride out with me," not because it makes me feel powerful or heroic to be fighting in some noble cause, but for the United States of America. For our ideals as Americans are our fortress, and as long as we hold to them, we will always have hope, and that will always be a hope worth fighting for, that the promise of our ideals will draw ever close to fulfillment, letting us shine as an example to the world of what can happen when people of all backgrounds and outlooks come together and resolve to create a community for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our country has seen a lot worse than this; if Osama bin Laden does lasting harm to the United States it will be because we rotted from within. But that won't happen. The weight of conventional wisdom may be against us, but if we hold the fort, we have a candidate who can go out and - with our help - take our message to the American people. And then come next November, all these pundits will be scrambling in shock to figure out how it happened. And I will order a pizza and watch.


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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.