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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 19, 2003


Will Nader run if Dean runs? PROBABLY.

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, December 19, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
thus spake the snake in the garden:

"Dean's record as governor is nothing to shout about," Mr. Nader says, noting that his preference would be Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

But Mr. Nader waxes on about how preferable Mr. Dean is to President Bush. In 2000 the consumer advocate suggested there was little difference between candidates Al Gore and Mr. Bush.

"Unlike most of the other candidates," Mr. Nader says, the Vermont governor "is not compromised by votes for the Patriot Act or for the Iraqi war resolution."

Let's take note of several things. First, Nader will choose to run irrespective of how much you or I hate him. This means he does hold a real influence over the presidential race, by virtue of (not just in spite of) his 2000 spoiler role. The fear of a Nader run is a tangible one that should give all Anybody-But-Bush voters serious pause. Nader has political capital and he will use it - he would be a fool not to use the Fear Of Nader to the advantage of his party.

Second, Nader's preference in terms of issues is closer to Kucinich. As such, Nader may simply be exerting pressure on the field, such that Dean gets the nomination rather than a more "compromised" candidate such as Kerry or Gephardt. While this works to our favor (in that some ABB voters may support Dean out of Fear of Nader), we cannot let temporary convenience blind us to the threat from the left flank. DON'T take Nader at his word on this, especially if you are a Dean supporter - because avoiding the Nader stigma is essential to preserving our fledgling grass-roots campaign, the like of which has never been seen in American politics (and which represents a sea change in our democracy itself). The stakes are too high. If we get lazy and try to capitalize on Fear of Nader, and then Dean wins the nomination, and Nader subsequently spoils the 2004 race by entering anyway, we are tainted as much as Nader is. This will undermine everything we have worked to achieve.

It is critical that we denounce Nader and ignore his statements that seem to support Dean.


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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.