"We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the end, that's what this election is about." -- Barack Obama, DNC keynote address, July 2004

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Wednesday, December 31, 2003


Dean can't win

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, December 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
At least, not with some people... Tom Tomorrow explains.



posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, December 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Heathers post continues to draw attention from the blogsphere. Regular readers know that the bloggers at Dean Nation are not a monolithic bloc. That is by design. Dana has been a strong and clear voice for what I like to call the conscience of the grassroots - an unflinchingly liberal voice who sees great hope for the first time in 3 years. I respect his opinion even when I disagree and I'd rather shut this blog down than censor the viewpoints of my fellow bloggers here.

Being a cheerleader is necessary. We need more of them. It's not through aloof debate that this election will be won - it's through passion and commitment. What will undermine that effort is the tendency to treat the raw enthusiasm that drives many Dean supporters as some kind of crude and unsophisticated impulse, as if admitting and glorifying your bias somehow leaves you tainted. This is a form of condescension that is on display in the response to Dana's post that I find chilling. A perfect example:

It's a decentralized campaign. That means that Dean supporters have a responsiblility to write persuasive, intelligent things promoting a candidate.
This (as well as some commenters on Kos, as well as some other Dean-blogs) make me ashamed of being a Dean supporter.

He's ashamed of being a Dean supporter? Actually ashamed, as in "refuse to display my bumper sticker for fear of being jeered at in the streets" ashamed? And it's not enough now that we support Dean. Now we have to express that support solely in the form of "persuasive, intelligent" commentary. Presumably "Go Dean!" fails the erudition test. The High Council is now accepting applications for Dean-advocacy permits.

Do Dean supporters cross the line sometimes? Yes, passion isn't as tidy as lofty intellectual detachment. Do Dean supporters have a victim complex? Well, yes, but maybe if Gore supporters had more of a victim complex in 2000 he wouldn't have been gored.


What Makes This Campaign Different

posted by Dana at Wednesday, December 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'm not right all the time. (I'm not left all the time, either.)

There are a lot of disagreements on this blog. And a lot on the O-blog as well. Differences of tone, of opinion, of attitude, and more.

But I want to point out, before the actual Election Year gets going, how important these differences are, and how they make this campaign different from anything that has come before.

For generations we've had campaigns run by insiders. Only a few hands got near the wheel. The rest of us were extras. We went from the smoke-filled rooms of the early century, through the "Making of a President" strategems of the mid-century, to the "War Rooms" of the late century.

And always it was the same. Here is the message. Stay on it.

We're not that way, here, on the O-blog, or in the streets and living rooms where minds are changed.

Anyone can contribute ideas. They all can make a difference.

Let me give one concrete example. When Mathew Gross put up one of the first bats a few months ago, I sent a note showing the code he could use to let hundreds of other blogs put that same graphic on their pages, linked to the same place. He checked my code, posted the correct code within hours, and the bat started swinging everywhere.

This does not make me a campaign insider. (It certainly doesn't make me a genius.) But the point is that any of us -- any of us -- can contribute ideas and see them implemented. These can be strategic, tactical, thematic, literally anything.

The other campaigns for the Democratic nomination have, at most, a few dozen minds each. The Dean campaign has, literally, hundreds of thousands of active minds, and it has a way to use all of them.

This means a lot more than the $15 million we've raised this quarter. I suspect it means more than the $120 million Bush has raised this year.

All of us, no matter our opinions, or how we came here, are redefining our politics, making them closer to the Founders' vision of how they should be.

Sure, the press doesn't "get it" yet. Sure, the other campaigns still don't have a Clue about it.

But what others think doesn't matter. Reality matters. Even if you came to this blog as a troll, you matter. Here, you're being heard. Here, you're no longer a face in the crowd. Here, you're a player. Here, you're a full citizen at last.

This is what I celebrate this New Year. The task before us in 2004 is simple, to scale this, to spread this around, until every American has the opportunity the Constitution promised, to be heard, so that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.

That's what this is about. Look at our Constitution. See those words at the top, bigger, bolder, louder than the rest, proclaiming a great new idea of self-governance.

We The People.

Not just the wealthy. Not just the insiders. Not just the few. All the people.

So no matter how you have felt about what I may have written here, thanks for being here. God bless you in this New Year. Next year, in Washington.


electoral calculus

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, December 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Frankly, I'm leery of the electoral-predictions game. On one hand, Steven Den Beste argues that Bush's win is inevitable because "white males are Jacksonian" and "prefer cowboys to metrosexuals." On the other, E.J. Dionne rebuts by pointing out how Dean has energized the base (echoed by TNR in more detail). And Kos illustrates the point that Dean can win without the South with some numbers:

Sure, many Red States (mainly in the South) are getting redder, but many Blue States are as well. With Nader mostly out of the picture, we're talking a lot bluer.

That means the battle for the presidency will not be fought in Alabama or California, Georgia or New Jersey, or Kentucky or New York. It will be fought in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and a couple more states. We may very well see $500 million or more spent by both sides on just a dozen states.

Let's look at it another way: I count 72 electoral votes in what I would consider the "solid Red" south -- KY, TN, NC, SC, MS, AL, and GA. For argument's sake, I'll throw in AR, LA and VA (all three winnable for the Dems), for a total of 100 electoral votes.

Now take the equally solid blue states CA, NY, and NJ, and we get 101 electoral votes. Gore didn't spend much on those three very expensive states, and neither will Dean (or Clark).

So while it's true that Bush may be freed from competing in those Southern states, the Dems are just as freed from spending money on their base states.

I can't help but notice two things: that the active predictions of 2004's outcome are always made by Bush supporters, whereas the Anybody But Bush analysts are always careful to stress the race will be a tough hard-fought slog. And, that such excercises in electoral calculus are still based on the Red vs Blue paradigm, despite the fact that the 10-Region Theory received such wide play a few weeks ago.

I frankly don't understand the value in any kind of regional analysis. It seems that the election will be based on larger themes - and just like the Red-Blue map is really an excercise in shades of purple, the 10 Regions too will have their own gradients.

We need to stop thinking about 2004 in these terms, and focus on message - not a politically tuned one but rather a principled one. Dean has partly been sidetracked by the perceived need to assuage the concerns of religious people, people in pickup trucks, etc. We need to get back to talking about the issues in substantive terms and letting the electoral chips fall where they may.


open thread: Friends of Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, December 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I think Dana has taken more than enough heat in the comment threads for his post below - I'd like to try and swing the topic 180 degrees. Who in the media has been the most fair (note: not obseqious) to Dean? Virtually the entire staff at The American Prospect - including Dean Nation blogger alumnus Matthew Yglesias - are contenders, but if I had to pick two names specifically it would be Garance Franke-Ruta or Nick Confessore. And of course we have Eric Alterman of So-Called Liberal Media fame. Who else?

Tuesday, December 30, 2003



posted by Dana at Tuesday, December 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The term “Heathers” has come into vogue describing “liberal” columnists such as Matthew Yglesias and Joshua Micah Marshall.

Its origin is as the title of a 1988 movie starring Winona Ryder as a high schooler desperate to join a sorority where all the girls are named Heather. It’s a touchstone among “Generation X,” (the baby bust, born between 1964 and the Reagan era.)

I first saw the term used to describe the media in a story by David Podvin. He credited the term to Peter Hart of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, who said “reporters tend to be clique-ish sorority-like ‘Heathers’ who are put off by the personalities of (all) liberal candidates.”

Podvin’s view is darker. He sees them as the GOP’s Stepford Wives (the remake comes out in June (goody))

In fact, the serial sliming of Democrats has absolutely nothing to do with Clinton or Gore or Dean or Kerry – it is all about the profit motive. The anti-Democratic bias in the media is directly proportional to the level of consolidation of the industry. While it is true that mainstream reporters are excruciatingly shallow, that is because journalists of substance who will not conform to the corporate agenda are unwelcome at the major media outlets.

What remains at America’s metropolitan newspapers and national broadcasting networks are the reporters who are willing to trade their integrity for high-paying jobs. In 2000, these mercenaries savaged the Democratic nominee because their employers viewed anything else as being unacceptable. In 2004, they will do exactly the same thing for exactly the same reason.

In other words, it’s all part of the Conservative Media Conspiracy, the Silencing of Dissent in the name of Corporate Greed.

However you view it, whether as mere “me-tooism” or outright bias, it’s part of the environment we must deal with. The Doctor himself is playing a wary game of seduction, soliciting Washington endorsements and highlighting his moderate credentials.

We don’t have to play it that way. But shouting “Conservative Media Conspiracy,” even if true, is not going to get the j-o-b done.

As so often the case in questions involving Governor Howard Dean M.D., the answer lies in history. In this case, the history of Washington, D.C.

Washington was designed as a renter’s town. Abigail Adams called Georgetown “the very dirtiest hole I ever saw.” My favorite Washington movie is the war-time comedy “Government Girl,” portraying Washington, in its most heroic period, as a fetid pool of power-grabbers who care little for the common good.

Those who stay in Washington, in other words, shouldn’t. What the town needs most of all is turnover, a spring cleaning, not just in the government but everywhere.

I think the Heathers know this. I think that’s why they are so anxious to do the bidding of Washington Democrats and take Dean down. They know that Dean brings, not just a Democrat to power, but true democracy, in all its revolutionary hurly-burly fervor. A Dean Administration would not just discomfit them, it would turn their safe little lives upside-down.

To which I say, again, goody. Turnover is what we should stand for, turnover is what we should demand. Turnover now. Marshall, Yglesias, Stephanopoulos, Matthews, all you Heathers, get out of town. If you can make a living in the Real America, maybe someone will invite you back.

But for now you’re tainted. You have, as the cops say, “gone native.” You’re suffering Stockholm Syndrome.

The good news is that, once again, this casts us in the mood of the revolutionaries, at a time when a “throw the bums out” mood has taken over. There are no jobs, our best young people are dying, we’re scared to death, the environment is a disaster, but we don’t have to take it.

We don’t have to take it from Bush, and we don’t have to take it from the Heathers, either. We’re marching, we’re spreading the word, and we’re going to win.

UPDATE (Aziz): The comment thread has been abuzz with disagreement (including my own) about calling Matt (and to a lesser extent JMM) a Heather. ccobb summarizes best:

I'm a liberal Democrat. I like Dean a lot. ... I am not a Dean supporter, although like most Dems I will certainly support him if he gets the nom. Sorry Deaniacs, but the good doctor is not the 2nd coming of Christ, Moses and Mohammed roled into one. He's just a politician, and a relatively moderate one at that. He is not perfect.

And like Matt Y and JMM, I have my concerns about Dean, just as I do about most of the candidates. But I don't think it is selling out to the "mainstream" or being a "heather" to be critical of Dean. Hell, if more of that would have happened with Bush, we might not have him as our fearless leader.


The Army Times is running photos of the fallen,0,3326303.column?coll=ny-news-columnists

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, December 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In introducing the pictures, under the headline "Faces of the Fallen," the Army Times said: "More than 500 service members died in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in 2003, a group that represents the full, rich face of American diversity.
The pictures are small and run in neat columns. The names, ranks and date and place of death are in small type underneath the small pictures. The understatement is devastating.

The paper's senior managing editor, Robert Hodierne, was saying yesterday, "When I looked at the pages, I felt the same as I did when I walked along the Wall."
And the dead are brought back here almost furtively. There are no ceremonies or pictures of caskets at Dover, Del., air base, where the dead are brought. "You don't want to upset the families," George Bush said. That the people might be slightly disturbed already by the death doesn't seem to register.

The wounded are flown into Washington at night. There are 5,000 of them and for a long time you never heard of soldiers who have no arms and legs. Then the singer Cher went into Walter Reed Hospital and came out and gave a report that was so compelling she should walk away with a Pulitzer Prize.

Finally, a couple of television stations and a newspaper here and there began to cover these things. There are miles to go.

For now, Cher, on one day, and the Army Times for the whole year, have served the nation as it should be served.

(aded a link to the transcript of the Cher phone call, via Atrios). Also don't miss the NYT article on the same topic.


A letter to Joshua Marshall

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, December 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Josh Marshall takes issue with Dean's factual statement that we supporters are not robots whose loytalties will be transferable upon command:

The price of admission to the Democratic primary race is a pledge of committed support to whomever wins the nomination, period. (The sense of entitlement to other Democrats' support comes after you win the nomination, not before.) If Dean can't sign on that dotted-line, he has no business asking for the party's nomination.

In response, I emailed Josh Marshall the following:


I'm sure you recall that during the 2000 election, Gore was consistently held to a higher standard than Bush by the media and the punditocracy.

I think you're somewhat guilty of the same thing here - note that Dean is the ONLY candidate who has said he would explicitly endorse the Democratic nominee, whoever that may be.

Contrast that explicit statement with the fact that none of the other candidates have agreed that they will endorse Dean if he wins. Worse, when asked if they thought Dean was "electable", none raised their hands at the last debate.

Kerry's entire campaign platform is "Dean is bad for the country." Don't you find such Anybody-But-Dean rhetoric disquieting, and egregiously hypocritical when the basic complaint against Dean's remarks is that it isn't sufficiently dedicated to Anybody-But-Bush? Will you or other political analysts hold Kerry accountable for his statements, which are pound for pound far worse and far more damaging to the prospects of electing a Democrat in 2004?

Dean's statement was factual. He will endorse the nominee, but don't expect Dean's supporters to follow. The whole point of supporting Dean is that we choose to do so - we are not automatons like Bush's support base who can be instructed from central command.

Understand that we support Dean because he offers - in our view - the best chance for victory in line with liberal principles. What use is a Democrat who kowtows to Republicans in the general election? Will Kerry or Gephardt stand up for us against Bush the way Dean has, or will they seek to out-Bush Bush? The vote to support the war on Iraq is a true bellweather of their commitment to doing what is right versus what is politically expedient, and there is real doubt that any of the others have the will to fight the election battle on terms that we believe are essential to victory.

(Note that I won't post his reply unless he gives me permission). Also see Atrios's thoughts on this.


Daily Review

posted by barb at Tuesday, December 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean, Gore team up for call, house parties

Dean Raises $14 Million and Sets Record, Aides Say

Dean visit puts focus on jobs

Dean Wants $100B for New Jobs in Cities

Dean Labels Bush 'Reckless'

It's party time for Howard Dean

Monday, December 29, 2003


WE are getting Gored

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, December 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
When Gore got Gored by the media, he lost. When Dean gets Gored by the media, WE lose. It's OUR campaign!

As has been said in the comment threads: "Don't worry about what they're going to do to you. Make them worry about what you're going to do to them." And what are we gonna do? FEED THE BAT. We are at 92% of our goal of $35,000 and every penny is gonna go to fighting back.

We're not gonna take it. NO! We ain't gonna take it! We're not gonna take it - anymore.

UPDATE: Steve Gilliard issues a call to arms.


The Lessons of History

posted by Brian Ulrich at Monday, December 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This post by Matthew Yglesias reminds me of something I hate about political commentary: Using the past to predict the future. In this case, we read that unemployment trends for the first six months of an election year are a sure-fire indicator of which party will win the White House.

The problem is that every election is different. I understand that political scientists need models to work from in describing voting behavior, but especially as applied through the media, the predictive value of these models seems limited at best. Remember 1998? All the talk was about how the President's party always loses Congressional seats in an off-year election. Except it didn't happen then, and it didn't happen again in 2002. So much for that rule of thumb.

Presidential elections within my memory follow a similar pattern. In 1988, we heard how sitting Vice Presidents can't win. After all, it hadn't happened since Martin van Buren. Enter Bush '41, and in 2000 Al Gore gets a free pass on the issue. In 1992, we heard how no candidate has won the Presidency after losing the New Hampshire primary. Paul Tsongas won New Hampshire, Clinton became President. And in 2000, John McCain won New Hampshire while Bush '43 became President. The status of the economy is always supposed to invariably predict election results. Well, Clinton did win in 1996, but didn't break the 50% mark in the popular vote, while Al Gore couldn't win in 2000.

With Howard Dean, we're hearing a lot of can't-win rhetoric of the type described above. They say, for example, that a candidate can't win if they oppose a war. This appears to be based on exactly one election year - 1972. They say New Englanders can't win nationally. This seems to derive solely from 1988, the only time since Kennedy one has been nominated.

We have a tough campaign ahead. But when you hear the pundits on TV explaining why he can't win, remember: History's main lesson in politics is that history doesn't predict a thing. The only election year we need to worry about is this one.


tarring Dean with Bush and Cheney's brush

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, December 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I have to confess some delight at the way this story uses the inherent wrongness of Cheney's secret energy task group meetings as the foundation stone. The basic story is that Dean, as VT Gov, also had a closed-door energy task force meeting, and now the media is using this to try and paint Dean as a hypocrite for demanding that Cheney release records of his own. The two are not the same however - and the story gives Dean a chance to play up the problem with Cheney's approach:

In 1999, Dean offered the same argument the Bush administration uses today for keeping deliberations of a policy task force secret.

"The governor needs to receive advice from time to time in closed session. As every person in government knows, sometimes you get more open discussion when it's not public," Dean was quoted as saying.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Dean defended his recent criticism of Cheney's task force and his demand that the administration release its private energy deliberations even though he refused to do that in Vermont.

Dean said his group developed better policy, was bipartisan and sought advice not just from energy executives but environmentalists and low-income advocates. He said his task force was more open because it held one public hearing and divulged afterward the names of people it consulted even though the content of discussions with them was kept secret.

The Vermont task force "is not exactly the Cheney thing," Dean said. "We had a much more open process than Cheney's process. We named the people we sought advice from in our final report."

Dean said he still believes it was necessary to keep task force deliberations secret, especially because the group was reviewing proprietary financial data from Vermont utilities. "Some advice does have to be given in private, but I don't mind letting people know who gave that advice," he said.

The article takes a more critical view, arguing that the parallels are "many" and trotting out some Democratic critics of Dean from Vermont on the issue. What's notable is that the story also mentions the sealed-records issue.

There's a similar line of attack in a Boston Globe story that Dean looked the other way with regards to corporation tax incentives:

As governor of Vermont, Howard Dean presided over the creation of a program that authorized $80.1 million in corporate tax credits without verifying that many of the companies had made good on promises to bring new jobs and investments to Vermont, according to a report by the state auditor's office.

The report found that the Vermont Economic Progress Council, the Dean-appointed nine-member body charged with administering the tax-credit program, relied heavily on companies' claims that they were considering bypassing Vermont for their business and needed the credits as incentives. The report also found that the Department of Taxes never checked to make sure that companies followed through on their promises until the Legislature stepped in and required it to do so.
Dean declined to comment through his spokesman, Jay Carson. "The auditor's report aside, the governor's record speaks for itself," Carson said. "There was record economic growth. He balanced 11 budgets, provided prescription drugs for seniors, and provided health insurance for children."

Dean, who regularly criticizes President Bush for doling out corporate tax benefits and has made criticism of questionable business gains a cornerstone of his bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination, took an active role in shaping Vermont's tax-credit program, according to an audit report released in 2000. He sought out companies and encouraged them to apply for the credits and shared his views with council members about how companies' qualifications should be evaluated.

The story is complex, but the main point again is that Dean is critiquing Bush for something he also did. The fact that there were no Vermont Enrons and no "Kenny Boy" close personal ties between Dean and the heads of these companies is not mentioned in teh story.

The common thread here is an attempt to mine Dean's Vermont record to try and undermine his critiques of Bush. In all three cases - energy task force, sealed records, and corporation incentives - Dean's record of success in Vermont is being used against him. One need only comare Vermont to Texas under Bush or the general state of the country as a whole today to realize the difference.

But these attacks do help - because for them to work, they must cut both ways. I think that the campaigns response to these has been sound.

UPDATE: John from the Zonkboard characterizes this attack strategy as "Dean ran stop sign once, yet criticizes Bush's drunk driving". Heh.


Gephardt campaign is still a threat in Iowa

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, December 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This Washington Post article bends over backwards to recycle the "doubts" about Dean even as it acknowledges his domination of the race for the nomination. But buried in the tripe is an important nugget about Gephardt's Iowa strategy:

In Iowa, the race is more competitive, with Dean battling Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.) for first place. Dean holds a narrow lead, according to private polling done for several campaigns.

Bill Carrick, one of Gephardt's advisers, said all the other candidates should be rooting for Gephardt to stop Dean in Iowa. "Every one of them needs us to win," he said. "We have to win Iowa. For better or worse this is Dean-Gephardt right now for the other candidates."

What Carrick is referring to - in code - is the fact that the Iowa caucuses are not just a simple vote, but rather a series of them - and delegates are free to change their vote. As Kos explains:

The Iowa Caucuses are a peculiar beast. People cast an initial ballot for their guy. But, if their guy doesn't break the 15 percent barrier, they can change their vote to a more viable candidate. In essence, supporters will work hard to garner the votes of the other caucus goers to get their guy as many votes as possible.

In the past, each caucus was a self-contained election. There was little the candidates could do to sway the votes of their supporters. But we now have a dandy new tool called the cell phone, and the caucuses may never be the same.

In short, campaign organizers can now call each individual caucus and attempt to move their supporters en masse to whatever candidate they choose.

So, if early in the night, it appears that Dean is headed for a narrow victory, Kerry could move five percent of his supporters, via a few cell phone calls, onto the Gephardt column. A Gephardt win would obviously serve Kerry's interests heading into the NH primary.

This is a real threat - the only way Dean could still win such a move is if he had more supporters than both Gephardt and Kerry combined. But he doesn't. It remains to be seen whether Kerry's political calculus swings this way or the other - it's risky for him too because any showing in Iowa would help him counter the "polling below Sharpton" critique. And the impact of a Gephardt win in Iowa on Kerry's chances in New Hampshire is debatable. Unless Kerry figures he is going down anyway and wants to hurt Dean out of spite?


Dean vs Nixon,1,4444064.story?coll=la-home-politics

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, December 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This editorial in the LA Times is a rare breed of political analysis - the kind that uses history to lend perspective, rather than whitewash fodder. It discusses the legacy of Nixon and the beginning of the Republican Southern Strategy of using coded racism as an appeal to white men.

In discussing the campaign ahead, Howard Dean has said on several occasions now that the Republicans will "do what they've been doing since 1968." But what exactly is that? As far as I can tell, what they've been doing is winning presidential elections. They have won six of the last nine if you count the last one that they did not exactly win.

Of course, that's not exactly what Dean meant. He meant that for him to win in 2004 he has to defeat a system established in 1968 by Richard M. Nixon. Never one to mince words, Dean has described that system as one of "coded racism." And its key code phrase was "states' rights," an old Southern favorite going back to the right to own slaves.

Nixon, always known more as an opportunist than an ideologue, assessed the political landscape when he ran for president in 1968, a time when Republicans had lost every presidential election since the Depression, except for two by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Like Dean today, he asked why are we losing and how can that be changed?

Nixon saw his opportunity in the decline of the great civil rights movement and the killing of Martin Luther King Jr. He judged that the South, a solid Democratic bloc that had never forgiven Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans for the Emancipation Proclamation, was furious about 10 years of civil rights progress and was ready to turn on the Democrats, who had received faithful Southern support since before the Civil War. In the end, Nixon defeated the Democrats not because of their worst disaster, Vietnam, but because of their greatest accomplishment, civil rights.

The article goes on to explain how Nixon snubbed Rockefeller for Vice President, choosing Agnew in order to seal a bargain with segregationist Strom Thurmond, who has switched to the GOP under the understanding that Nixon would pick a "states rights" veep. It also details Nixon's success at packing the Supreme Court with anti-civil rights justices, including the first use of a filibuster to block a Supreme Court nominee in American history.

This article is essential reading! Dean's now famous remarks about the confederate flag were aimed squarely at Nixon's legacy - we need to re-unite the nation from the divisive racial politics that are still being used to sway voters into voting against their economic self-interest.

Saturday, December 27, 2003


what about the poor and working class?

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, December 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
A few weeks ago, Matthew Yglesias had a devastatingly accurate critical observation about the economic platforms of all the presidential candidates, including Dean:

All campaigns, whether funded on the Bush model or the Dean model or something in between, must place more value on supporters who give money and votes than to supporters who have merely votes to offer. Hence, the interests of people with money to spare -- not "the rich" necessarily, but the upper middle class, at least -- will be represented out of proportion to their numbers. One will note that none of the Democrats has what one would call an ambitious anti-poverty agenda at the heart of his domestic policy proposals. This is not a coincidence.

and looking at Dean's economic proposals, one is indeed struck by the lack of policy devoted to issues of addressing outright poverty - the emphasis is entirely upon the middle class.

This is not a new critique. Jerome Armstrong posted on Dean Nation back in June about how a cut in the payroll tax would be a major political and economic coup:

This economic agenda doesn't have to be that complicated:

Candidate A, a Democrat, pledges to cut the payroll taxes of all individuals earning under $110k, and all married couples both working and earning under $220k.

Candidate B, a Republican, claims that 90% of the people don't deserve a tax-cut, defends the elite, the rich, and... loses.

I confess, I've taken Reich's idea and dumbed it down (heaven forbid), but that doesn't matter, you get the point.

Dean alluded to the idea in his famous MTP brusing with Tim Russert, but stopped halfway. Dean has emphasised the need to increase the amount of wages that can be taxed - in essence, a rising tide that floats all boats. But he stopped short of arguing for the immediate benefits that a cut in the payroll tax would provide in terms of a massive economic boost to the people who really do need it most. Compard to the Republicans, who think that tax havens for the super wealthy cloaked as giveaways to the middle class are what are needed, this is a political winner. But the campaign remains deaf to these issues.

And you can't stop there. What about people with poverty-level incomes? Selling a solution to poverty puts Democrats (like Kucinich) in direct conflict with moderates, as they are stuck in the same welfare-spending-hole paradigm. But Bob McGrew explains a fascinating solution to poverty that appeals to both my social liberalism and my fiscal conservatism - wage subsidies:

Suppose you want every worker to be paid at least $10/hour. A minimum wage would just destroy jobs for people with productivity less than $10/hour. Wage subsidies won't, because the government pays the difference between the market wage and $10/hour.

The idea of a wage subsidy is that if an employer pays a worker a $5/hour salary, the government will give that employer a $5/hour subsidy which it would then pass on to the worker. The worker ends up making $10/hour, but the employer pays only $5/hour, so that it's still worth it to the employer to hire the worker and the job is not destroyed. The wage subsidies are phased out on a sliding scale, so that there's no cut-off effects.

In other words, this seems like a way to implement the goal of living-wage campaigns, without destroying jobs or economic efficiency. And, in a way, it's fair: if there are social benefits from higher wages, it makes sense that society as a whole should have to pay them (through taxes), rather than private companies. This is the best way to help the poor that I have heard of yet. It provides a basic minimum while encouraging work (which is the only way to end poverty) and making crime not pay.

The counterargument to the idea is that employers could simply drop the wages they pay to their workers by the amount of the subsidy, essentially turning it into an employer subsidy. Bob addresses this:

Basically, the market will bid up the worker's wage to whatever an employer can gain by employing him. If a worker's productivity is $10/hour and his wage subsidy at $10/hour is $3, an employer can get $13/hour from employing him. So the market will bid his wages up to $13/hour and the employers won't benefit from the subsidies - it will all be passed through to the worker.

As Bob notes, the plan will have significant cost. But the point here is that wage subsidies rae designed to supplant standard welfare payments and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Much of the cost could theoretically be covered by reducing (but not eliminating!) these as well as housing assistance, food stamps, etc.

The main reason this idea has merit is because it encourages both a work-based solution to poverty as well as a decent living wage. The idea isn't to argue about what the living wage should be, but rather to raise the overall standard of living in a more effecient and long-term beneficial way than simply spending money on welfare payments. Again, if this idea could be adopted by the Dean campaign, it would have appeal across the aisle. Maybe not at the federal level, but the federal government could sponsor this at the state level to see how it works out.

Friday, December 26, 2003


death for Osama, gag for Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, December 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Well, that didn't take long - Dean is already being forced into defense mode on the Osama issue. Typical example of the way the issue is being framed: the Newsmax story headlined "Dean defends bin Landen".

Dean's response to this was quick - a telephone interview with the AP:

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, Dean also said he wants Osama bin Laden to get the death penalty, seeking to minimize fallout from a New Hampshire newspaper story Friday in which he was quoted as saying the terror leader's guilt should not be prejudged.

"As a president, I would have to defend the process of the rule of law. But as an American, I want to make sure he gets the death penalty he deserves," Dean told the AP in a phone interview.

The former Vermont governor, who solidly leads the field of Democratic presidential candidates in both polls and money, said he was simply trying to state in The Concord Monitor interview that the process of trying bin Laden needs to be fair and credible.

In that interview, Dean was quoted as saying, "I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials."

Dean told the AP that sentiment doesn't mean he sympathizes in any way with the al-Qaida leader. "I'm just like every other American, I think the guy is outrageous," he said.


The problem here is that Dean still hasn't realized the depth to which his opponents will sink. The "no safer after Saddam" comment should have opened his eyes, but in my opinion he remains remarkably deaf to the way his own words can be twisted about. Since he did say in the Monitor interview it wasn't appropriate to "pre-judge" Osama (in terms of deciding a punishment), and now in the AP interview admits he wants to see a death penalty (in consistent line with his earlier views, I might add), he can easily be caricatured as flip-flopping on the issue.

If the original remark was poorly thouhgt-out, that's understandable, because it was defensible from a righeousness point of view. But with the additional interview he has weakened his position, opening himself up to a new charge of inconsistency, which actually obstructs his own record of consistency about the death penalty and undermines his original point about the neccessity for a fair trial.

Dean needs to stop trying to "fix" things. The people like Drudge and Newsmax who jumped at his original statement did so knowing <>full well what he really meant. Dean needs to stop being reactive and simply change the debate instead of taking the bait and being pulled deeper into the tar pit.

He'd better learn quickly.

UPDATE: Chris in comments on the post below notes:

Dean has to be careful not to fall into the Dukakis trap of trying to be so fair that he comes off sounding like he doesn't care if people were hurt by bin Laden. The best response to questions like this is to first go with the visceral response ("I'd like to string him up by his nuts") followed by the statesmen response ("but doing so without due process of law would make us no better than him.")

People need to feel that you will leap to their defense without a moments hesitation.

exactly right. Someone needs to clue-by-four Dean with this basic knowledge and do it fast.


against great evil, a fair trial's value is highest

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, December 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Professor Juan Cole, an expert on the mideast and Iraq, was recently interviewed about the issue of where to try Saddam, and had this to say about the value of a fair trial:

Q: Is it possible for him to get a fair trial?

A: That's another issue. One of the persons who is calling for a war crimes tribunal in Iraq is Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, current president of the interim Governing Council. Sixty-three members of his family were killed by Saddam Hussein. I'm willing to concede that the man is an upright man, but I don't know if saints exist to that extent in the world where he has no sense of vindictiveness about this. That's a problem that a lot of the people involved in this have talked about, and for those reasons I really think it is important that any trial occurs in The Hague.

Q: Are there other reasons why any trial should be conducted by the existing format of international war crimes tribunals?

A: There has never been such a tribunal in Iraq before. It's being created from scratch, most of the judges with long experience in Iraq are Baathists and there's no constitution in Iraq. Under what statutes can he be tried?

Q: Does it matter if he gets a fair trial?

A: I think it does matter. First, Saddam still has supporters, and to satisfy those supporters, it's important that any trial is conducted through a fair process. Otherwise, it could be construed that he was treated unfairly.

I also think it's important for Iraq. If there is going to be a new Iraq, it must be founded on the principles of law and fairness. It would not [. . .] bode well that the country's first act would be to railroad someone even as despised as Saddam Hussein.

The point is important because it is fundamental to the integrity of our justice system (and what separates us from brute force governments like that of the Taliban, where the "moral" verdict is often twisted to suit political and religo-fanatic ends).

The case for Saddam should be required to be rigorous enough that it can withstand any scrutiny - and prove conclusively the fact of Saddam's guilt beyond any possible objection by partisan Baathists or other sympathizers/apologists for his evil regime.

The same is true of Osama bin Laden - for whom a fair trial is equally if not even more important. A fair trial for Osama - made rigorous and airtight - will help make our case to the Arab world that OBL is not their advocate, but rather a liar and a heretic, who has abused Islam. Only a fair trial can make such conclusions rigorous - and this is essential if we are to succeed in remaking the Middle East.

Howard Dean gets it:

The Monitor asked: Where should Osama bin Laden be tried if he's caught? Dean said he didn't think it made any difference, and if he were president he would consult with his lawyers for advice on the subject.

But wouldn't most Americans feel strongly that bin Laden should be tried in America - and put to death?

"I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," Dean said. "I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials. So I'm sure that is the correct sentiment of most Americans, but I do think if you're running for president, or if you are president, it's best to say that the full range of penalties should be available. But it's not so great to prejudge the judicial system."

This a noble statement. It is, in a nutshell, why we are better than thugs like Saddam or Osama bin Laden and why any nation built upon their principles inevitably fails or is defeated.

It is also fodder for moral cowards such as Matt Drudge, who has linked to the Concord Monitor story with the astonishingly disingenous and almost-defamatory headline "Dean not ready to pronounce Osama bin Laden guilty..." - in red text to make it stand out all the more.

Arthur Silber acidly comments on the sick mindset of such creatures to which Drudge panders:

Wow. Dean resists "pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found." He doesn't think that executive power should be used to "prejudge" individuals -- and perhaps incarcerate them on an open-ended basis, without recourse to counsel or to any court at all, or even to execute them.

Why, it's positively unAmerican! Dean is a traitor! Hang him! First execution, then verdict, then trial. That's the American way, at least it appears it would be if this administration, led by a would-be King George, had its way. And I have no doubt, no doubt at all, that the majority of people seeing Drudge's vicious little headline will view it the way Drudge apparently does -- and probably they will cling to that view even after reading the entire story. It's much more comforting than the actual facts, don't you know. It goes so nicely with their comic book view of the world.

And Atrios already has a great rejoinder that I hope Dean uses if challenged on this:

And, if asked about this Dean should say something along the lines of "How dare you question my desire to bring the 9/11 perpetrators to trial. I've been saying for months we need to devote our efforts to getting Bin Laden. It's absolutely un-American to suggest that anyone, no matter how heinous the crime or obvious the guilt, doesn't and shouldn't deserve a fair trial under our Judicial system, as our Founders, in their wisdom, desired.

That's the right attitude - to refuse to be bound by the moral cowards' attempts at defining the debate. The response from the Bush Apologist camp has been previewed - it remains to be seen if the Democratic challengers to Dean take up the bait as well.


optimistic about the pessimistic ploy

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, December 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This NYT piece details the emerging Bush reelection strategy which is centered on Dean as the nominee. I agree with Kos that trying to de-personalize the race makes little sense:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 25 — President Bush's campaign has settled on a plan to run against Howard Dean that would portray him as reckless, angry and pessimistic, while framing the 2004 election as a referendum on the direction of the nation more than on the president himself, Mr. Bush's aides say.

Some advisers to Mr. Bush, increasingly convinced that Dr. Dean will become their opponent next fall, are pushing to begin a drive to undercut him even before a Democratic nominee becomes clear. But others said the more likely plan would be to hold back until after the Democratic contest had effectively ended, probably no later than March.

well, okay, we Dean supporters certainly would welcome an issues-driven campaign! But what is notable is the attempt to link Dean to pessimism - in fact the word is repeated three times on the first page of the story. Atrios comments on how the media will enable the meme:

Look for it to be coming out of every Republican's mouth soon, and then it will increasingly creep into "objective" reporting. The process will go something like this. First, they'll quote Bush campaign sources describing Dean as "pessimistic." Next, they'll move onto Democratic campaign sources, often anonymous, describing Dean as "pessimistic." Next, they'll stop bothering getting the quote and just write things like, "Some have criticized Dean for his unappealing pessimism..." And, then, finally, process complete, campaign analysis pieces in print and the "objective journalists" on the roundtable shows, will just write/say things like "Dean's pessimistic rhetoric..." By the end no discussion or news story about Dean will see the light of day without the word "pessimism."

The Bush campaign strategy then is to try and make the campaign an issue of Bush's policies vs Dean's character - and offer a sunny and optimistic vision of the future. This includes the standard trick of couching pro-elite fiscal policies in obfuscating language designed to make the middle class think it's to their benefit:

The president's political team, led by Karl Rove, his senior adviser, is working on policy initiatives that would help build support among specific blocs of voters. For the so-called investor class, the team is planning a push for private investment accounts in Social Security and expanded tax-free savings accounts.

This is part of the "ownership society" meme that the GOP is pushing for to help sell the idea - but as the Boston Globe points out, the idea is a massive scam:

IN PRESIDENT Bush's upcoming State of the Union address, we will hear a lot about something called an "ownership society." The idea is that American workers aspire to be owners -- of stock for their retirement, homes, businesses, good health insurance, and skills they need to navigate multiple changes of jobs and careers. It sounds just great.
How does Bush propose to create this "ownership society?" Mainly through more tax credits. If people lack reliable health care, there are tax-favored savings accounts to buy health insurance. If corporations are abandoning good pensions, there are new tax incentives to set aside retirement savings. If jobs are precarious, there are tax credits to purchase retraining when your job moves to China.

What's wrong with the entire approach? For starters, the very people who lack the decent health insurance, the money for retraining, and the secure nest eggs are short of adequate earnings from which to take out savings. So most of the tax breaks, like the rest of the Bush tax program, will go to people who don't really need them, while those who rely on genuine help will come up short.
Decent wages and benefits and real government help are what Bush's ownership society leaves out. To Bush, ownership means that the lone individual is made the sole owner of the problem. Lost your job? Better get yourself some new skills. Corporation cancelled your pension? Better sock away more savings. Company health insurance plan raising premiums and copays? Congratulations! You're an owner! This ownership society walks away from the social investments of the past six decades that actually made the United States a society in which most people could reasonably aspire to be owners. It leaves people on their own with a fistful of tax credits that most people can't afford to use.

The bottom line is that the "ownership society" talk is a fig leaf for a scheme that, much like Bush's landamrk dividend tax cut, will serve as a massive boon to the wealthy while actually hurting the middle class. And as Paul Krugman pointed out, upward mobility is already severely threatened. The basic goal is to create a society that rewards wealth, not work - the negation of the American Dream.

If the case can be made in these terms, then it's not Dean who looks pessimistic - and I think the word optimistic needs to be inserted into our liberal dialouge.


Dean on tort reform

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, December 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
interesting but unverified letter to the NYT editor from Howard Dean in 1988, on the topic of tort reform:

To the Editor:

Randall Bezanson and Gilbert Cranberg detailed a situation that I hope will get far worse. As a physician, I have been frustrated for years by the reluctance of state legislatures and the United States Congress to deal with liability problems of all kinds.

I have long maintained that until the legal profession and the news media are also afflicted with the increasingly severe consequences of a tort system that benefits few people outside the legal profession, there will be no return to a fair and reasonable system of justice.

The trends toward lawyers suing one another for malpractice and toward outrageous-size punitive damages in libel cases give me hope that the crisis in our tort system may finally come to the attention of those who can make this a public issue and improve the situation for all of us who require liability insurance to do business.

Montpelier, Vt., June 17, 1988

Despite conservative claims to the contrary, I don't think tort reform is as neccessary an issue today as it was in the 1980's - in fact, given the increased rise of severe corporate scandal, I would say that we need less tort reform as a bulwark. There isn't much specific info on the issue at the campaign issues page.

It's a topic worthy of discussion, especially in the context of corporate abuse. Dwight Meredith had a number of excellent posts on the issue of tort reform at his now-defunct blog, PLA. What do you think?


A Winter's Tale, by Tony Farber

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, December 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Regular Dean Nation denizen Tony Farber's epic three-part screed of a ghostly visit to the newest graveyard of the Internet simply must be shared with all.

Thursday, December 25, 2003


Peace on Earth

posted by Editor at Thursday, December 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Merry Christmas, Dean Nation. From Dean for America...
December 25, 2003

On Peace on Earth

BURLINGTON--Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D., today offered the following message:

"Today, for just a single day out of the year, much of the world recognizes a day of peace. It is a day when we set aside our differences and come together to celebrate an ideal of a world free from hate, free from want and free from war.

"Over the 3,500 years of recorded human history, we have seen thirteen years of war for every year of peace. Today, as we gather with families and friends, we must remember the hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers separated from their families, serving overseas. We must remember the people of Africa who have seen too much war, destruction and want this year, and we must remember all of the other humanitarian crises that escape our notice on other days of the year.

"On this day more than most, we must resolve to continue our work and to redouble our efforts to ensure that someday soon world peace can be something we celebrate more than just once a year.

"The United States was founded on an ideal that we would serve as a peaceful and moral beacon for the rest of the world. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, 'Peace with all nations, and the right which that gives us with respect to all nations, are our object.' The biggest roadblock to achieving that is our own doubt that it can be accomplished. Franklin D. Roosevelt told us that 'The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.' May today bring peace on Earth and goodwill toward everyone."

-- 30 --


Washington at War: against Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, December 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Eric Alterman has a landmark essay in The Nation that addresses the Anybody But Dean mentality pervading the media establishment. Alterman starts out with a review of the recent political hit-jobs that various pundits have trotted out just in the past week, noting that it's hard-line neocons and liberal institutions alike that have jumped on the anti-Dean bandwagon, including The New Republic, The New York Times, even the new Center for American Progress.

Intriguingly, much of the liberal criticism is schizophrenic. For example:

My colleague at the Center for American Progress, Matthew Miller, attended the speech and found it lacking, not in substance, which he thought properly Clintonian, but in presentation. "When Dean barked it out, it felt smaller and shabbier, as if he were lecturing us on simple facts we ought to have known." Miller worries at length about what it means that Dean accidentally thanked US soldiers for their "services" rather than "service." Jonathan Chait, so obsessed he now operates an anti-Dean blog at The New Republic, also admits that the position that so exercised the Post pooh-bahs is "narrowly true." Chait's problem with Dean, and I quote, is that the Vermont governor "gives off the vibe that he likes to equivocate about the bad guys rather than recognize them for what they are" (what a bummer that Dean dude is...).

ABC's Sam Donaldson made the same silly point, admitting that "in context, you know what he's saying," but when normally perspicacious pundits like Miller and Chait talk in terms of "feelings" and "vibes," something more than policy disputes are at work.

Alterman is correct that part of the antipathy to Dean is because he doesn't kowtow to the pundits' sense of self-importance. Given the astonishing failure of the media to properly inform the public about the disastrous nature of Bush's policies - and the wholesale character assassination that Gore endured during the 2000 election while the liberal pundits looked the other way, and Bush got a free pass.

The other point is that the political calculus of supporting the war on Iraq is being exposed by Dean's relentless consitency. The major establishment candidates are all on the losing side of the factual evidence:

This utter disconnect was supremely exacerbated by Dean's statement that "capturing Saddam didn't make America any safer" - a statement that both the American public and the Dept of Homeland Security recognize as factual. The truth is that the war on Iraq distracted us from Al Qaeda - leaving them free to innovate new tactics such as infiltrating pilots into foreign airlines. This has even led to flights being cancelled and small towns in New Jersey being mentioned by name as targets.

All of which underscores Dean's basic point that the Bush Administration's ideological blinders have made us less safe. Alterman's most damning critique of the media pundits is that their focus on Dean blinds them to the utter ineptitude of Bush's policies - and the way in which the President can't even articulate a defense:

Dean has some problems, no doubt, but the pundits hardly seem to notice that George W. ("You can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror") Bush cannot pretend to defend deceiving the nation into war anymore. When ABC's Diane Sawyer pressed him in an interview about whether Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction or merely would have liked to have them, Bush replied contemptuously, "What's the difference?" (Try this, Mr. President: "I shot that man, Your Honor, because he pointed a gun at me and was about to pull the trigger," or "I shot that man, Your Honor, because he looked like he was thinking about getting a gun.")

Of course, the response from the establishment candidates that the pundits favor is to simply cede the debate on national security. It's only Dean who has seized onto the basic truth. And the punditocracy hates him for it:

Today, the nation remains no less divided than four years ago, with about 20 percent of the vote up for grabs. The punditocracy has chosen its side. Perhaps it's time the rest of us choose ours.

UPDATE: Paul Krugman has some relevant advice for journalists covering the 2004 election. And Nick Confessore noticed the media hostility some time ago.


Bush's uranium "goof"

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, December 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'm beginning to suspect that far from being a political genius, Karl Rove is actually a complete fraud. How else to explain this?

In an effort to draw support for waging war with Iraq, Bush told the nation in his January speech: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

The source said the report concludes there was no intention to deceive; instead it was "a goof" as the administration searched for examples to share with the public of why the United States believed Iraq was attempting to build a nuclear program.
"They truly believed when it landed on their desk it was right, but they should have checked the information, asked more questions," the source said of senior White House officials. "They truly believed what landed on their desk; they trusted what came out of the CIA."

To summarize, the White House line is now "we didn't mean to LIE, we were just incompetent. And really, it's the CIA's fault anyway." This raises two important questions for the voting public: 1. Where exactly does the buck stop in the Bush Administration? 2. Why should someone who "goofs" around with a matter of national security be considered qualified for this office?

Wednesday, December 24, 2003


Holiday open thread

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, December 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Don't forget to feed the bat! Have a great holiday everyone ...


We're ready for our closeup, Mr. DeMille

posted by Amanda at Wednesday, December 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
As the year winds to a close, Liberal Oasis takes stock of how far liberals have come this year -- and the implications for next year. And LO's feeling generous -- even quotes (favorably) (gasp!) Dick Morris.

The gist of LO's argument: Liberals have exerted significant and growing influence within the party since the debacle of Election 2002. The strength of the Dean campaign is but the most obvious evidence of this shift. So a hearty congrats to us all but a word of caution: the ball's in our court now. We need to be ready for our closeup, as it were.

Frankly, all of us who are part of this amazing grassroots campaign need to take this responsibility very seriously...and maybe take some time over the holidays to not only rest but get ready for what promises to be a very challenging year.

Here's an excerpt but be sure to read the whole thing (there's some excellent stuff about Dean in this post, too:

LiberalOasis believes. But you can’t expect those who don’t describe themselves as liberals to automatically trust liberals with the keys.

No one buys the Florida Marlins can beat the New York Yankees, until they actually do it.

So, since we are very likely to be in charge, at least figuratively speaking, it’s time to start acting like it.

The CW assumes (as Dick Morris does) that we are a loony fringe.

We are not, but others will pounce on anything that hints otherwise, as they already do.

That means in our words and our actions, we must always be cognizant that we are always speaking to more than just our fellow liberals.


This is...serious business. We should act like it, and look like it.

We are about to be collectively put in the hot seat. Get ready.

Happy Holidays to All! Here's to some well-deserved R&R. See you in January! :-)

Tuesday, December 23, 2003


Daily Review

posted by barb at Tuesday, December 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Howard Dean rejects Washington Post charge

In the Van With Howard Dean

Dumping On Dean

Hey, Dems! Put lid on the fratricide

Editorial: Dean's truth/Saddam didn't threaten U.S

Editorial: Lautenschlager and Dean


using Charlie to smear Howard

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, December 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Political apologists for Bush seem to turn a blind eye to their candidate's shady record of military service - and positively exult when Bush wraps himself in a flight suit to try and borrow our servicemen's honor for his political advantage. It makes their sudden righteous outrage about Howard Dean's brother all the more transparent. That doesn't mean they won't try and repeat these attacks. Here's the latest iteration:

It goes like this: in August the Quad City Times submitted a list of 20 questions to all the Democrat presidential candidates, one of which asked them to complete the following sentence: "My closest living relative in the armed services is...?"

Dean responded by saying "my brother is a POW/MIA in Laos, but is almost certainly dead."

This is technically true (the DoD did end up classifying Charlie Dean as MIA) but grossly misleading and deceptive. For those who don't know, Charlie Dean was a civilian and an antiwar activist who worked for George McGovern in 1972.

The essay then quotes an editorial in the Quad-City Times that also tries to inflate the significance:

The U.S. Department of Defense classified Charlie Dean as Missing in Action, meaning that he was among those officially sought by our government. He wasn't the only civilian with such a classification.

But he was a civilian, not a member of the armed services.

And the New York Times has picked it up from there with a story titled "Dean Rebuked for Statement Implying Brother Served in Military"

There isn't really much to say about this. Either you believe that Dean consciously tried to "imply" that Charlie served in the military or you don't. Dean Nation reported on Drudge's earlier attempt at this smear where he argued that Charlie received undeserved military honors - and I'm sure that this line of attack will be served repeatedly in the general election as well.

Pointing out that the military considers *all* Americans missing in Vietnam as prisoners of war is pointless (the QCT editorial even acknowledges this, but deems it irrelevant). The better line of defense is a good offense - pointing out that this is a cheap ploy to try and invoke outrage from members of our military, and play into the weak on defense argument. As we have pointed out time and time again, it's Bush who has made us weaker - and it's Bush who shows true disrespect to our armed forces by sponsoring cuts in their benefits, forcing them to pay their own way home on leave for Iraq, wrapping himself in their glory, and of course the ultimate insult - his own AWOL from the National Guard dfuring Vietnam.

Charlie was a civilian - and died in Vietnam. Bush was in the National Guard - and went AWOL. And between Bush and Dean, its clear which one sees the military as disposable pawns and which one doesn't.


Nader won't run as a Green

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, December 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Via Kos comes the welcome news that Ralph Nader won't be running for the Green Party nomination. He might run as an independent, but without a national infrastructure I don't think he could get on the ballot in most states. What pleases me most is the impression that the Green Party may have learned some valuable lessons after the 2000 election:
The Green Party is debating whether to take a nominee on a full state-by-state campaign or to adopt a "safe state" strategy. Under that method, the party would mostly avoid states up for grabs, in order not to jeopardize the Democratic candidate's chances against President Bush.

Sounds good to me. If they adopt the "safe state" strategy, both Greens and Democrats will benefit. I am very hopeful that both parties will be able to work towards the most important goal: defeating Bush and replacing him with a Democrat.


Dean for America Press Office: No Deal Was Ever Offered To Clark

posted by Heath at Tuesday, December 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Statement from Dean for America Communications Director Tricia Enright:
"While it's flattering that the Clark campaign has spent the past two days doing nothing but trying to prove that Governor Dean offered General Clark a Vice-Presidential slot, saying something 100 times doesn't make it true and this isn't."
What's going on here with this Clark strategy? Too me, it smacks of a reality check for them resulting in a little re-positioning. What do YOU think?

Crossposted at DeanTV.

Happy Holidays and Safe Travels to All! --Heath

UPDATE (Aziz) : Just wanted to point out Trippi's perspective, via the CNN story on this issue:

Trippi, who said Dean and Clark had "a great relationship," said he thought the issue had been discussed in a separate meeting.

"In the meeting I was in, the governor told him that if he wanted to be president of the United States, the general should run for president of the United States," he said.

The issue may be moot anyway. Clark said in his interview that he didn't see the vice presidency "in the cards," and Trippi said the Dean campaign has not been considering the matter.

"Look, we haven't won Iowa or New Hampshire, a vote hasn't been cast," Trippi said. "And particularly back in the period he was talking about, we were still an asterisk in most of the polls.

"So to be talking to anybody about being vice president doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It doesn't make sense now."

Monday, December 22, 2003


Holy Hypocrite, Joe-Man!

posted by Trammell at Monday, December 22, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
With no comment -- except to say that fools can be bright and pious -- Dean National Hoffman relates this at home, and at Points West:
Joe Lieberman's sure been coming to Bill Clinton's defense lately when he feels that Howard Dean is slighting Clinton. Nothing like using Clinton to boost your own political standing among Democrats.

But as American Stranger asked me this morning: Wasn't Lieberman one of the most critical Dems back in the impeachment days?

Absolutely. In his speech during the impeachment proceedings, he was quite the good soldier in voting against it. But he still took the opportunity to spank Clinton several times (presented in small type since there's so stinkin' much of it):

As I have stated previously on this Senate floor, I have been deeply disappointed and angered by this President's conduct--that which is covered in the Articles, and the more personal misbehavior that is not--and like all of us here, I have struggled uncomfortably for more than a year with how to respond to it. President Clinton engaged in an extramarital sexual relationship with a young White House employee in the Oval Office, which, though consensual, was irresponsible and immoral, and thus raised serious questions about his judgment and his respect for the high office he holds. He then made false or misleading statements about that relationship to the American people, to a Federal district court judge in a civil deposition, and to a Federal grand jury; in so doing, he betrayed not only his family but the public's trust, and undermined his moral authority and public credibility.
...I conclude that the appropriate question for each of us to ask is not whether the President committed perjury or obstruction of justice, but whether he committed a high crime or misdemeanor...
I have no doubt that under certain circumstances such offenses could demonstrate such a level of depravity, deceit and disregard for the administration of justice that we would have no choice but to conclude that the President could no longer be trusted to use the authority of his office and make the decisions entrusted to him as Chief Executive in the best interest of the nation. It is because I hold this position that I found reaching a decision in this case such a difficult matter.
I am puzzled by the President's including in his prepared grand jury testimony the statement that `I regret that what began as a friendship came to include this [inappropriate] conduct.' (Grand Jury Testimony of President Clinton p. 9.) As the House Managers pointed out, according to Ms. Lewinsky, she and the President engaged in `this conduct' on the first day they met.
I am, of course, profoundly unsettled by President Clinton's irresponsibility in carrying on a sexual relationship with an intern in the Oval Office and by the disregard for the truth he showed in trying to conceal it from his family, his staff, the courts and the American people.
My disappointment and anger with the President's actions were reawakened as I listened to the evidence the Managers have presented.
I have observed that roughly two-thirds of the public consistently expresses its opposition to the President's removal. But I do not think we can leave this proceeding, especially those of us who have voted against the Articles, without also noting that roughly one-third of the American people have consistently expressed their belief that this President is unfit to lead this nation. That is a startlingly large percentage of our people who have totally lost confidence in our nation's leader.
And that was after THIS little stampy-feet tirade Joe had on the floor of the Senate as he cried about Clinton's morality. Some friggin' friend. I gotta think Clinton remembers as well, and must be seething every time he sees Joe invoke his name against another Democrat for political gain.

If Joe's still having a hissyfit over Gore's endorsement of Dean, too bad. That's politics - the game you're in. Gore gave him a golden opportunity in 2000 which he squandered by turning into a sweat puddle debating Dick Cheney. Get over it, Joe. Better yet - just go away.

Cross-posted at Hoffmania!
Hear the man! Really, as John Cleese might put it: this - has - become - just - silly!!

Sunday, December 21, 2003


no safer

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, December 21, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
a new poll reveals that the general public agrees with Dean that America is no safer after Saddam's capture:

Dean has been a vociferous critic of the Iraq war. Most voters believe, as Dean does, that the U.S. is no safer from terror in the wake of the arrest of Saddam Hussein. And while Dean’s rise may have been helped along by former Vice-President Al Gore’s recent endorsement, most primary voters say Gore’s nod makes no difference to them.

Dean has the backing of 23 percent of likely primary voters, the same as he did in the days just prior to Saddam's capture, and up from 14 percent in November. His nearest rivals today are Wesley Clark and Joe Lieberman, both at 10 percent.

Democratic primary voters 22%
All voters 17%

Still the same:
Democratic primary voters 63%
All voters] 61%

Democratic primary voters 13%
All voters 18%

Looks like the Department of Homeland Security also agrees with Dean - the terror threat alert level is being raised to mango peach.

Saturday, December 20, 2003


The AP Gets Half the Story

posted by Matt Singer at Saturday, December 20, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Well, the (so-called) liberal media picked up the "Bush Tax" story by trying to point out that Dean was responsible as Governor for property tax hikes.


One man deals with the impact of a national recession on his local budget by choosing to limit spending growth rather than raising taxes in a state that already had fairly high tax burdens.

Another man walks into office and proposes tax cut after tax cut after tax cut, with very little stimulus in any of the packages, all of which negatively impact state tax collection and do little to help states deal with a recession.

These two situations are "similar"?


Now the distinction in this situation goes back to something that has confused some folks in other situations. Dean points out in the AP article that when faced with a recession, and making the tough choice that fiscal responsibility was in order, Dean slowed the rate of growth of Vermont government. Local governments chose to maintain previous rates of growth.

In the Bush system, Bush chose to make cuts that slash state tax revenues without providing any good way for states to get more aid from the federal government to make up for it. States would not just have to slow the rate of growth, they would have to reverse it. Virtually every state has faced the choice of tax hikes or service cuts, not simply growth rate reductions.

The only question in my mind is which campaign planted this story: Bush or Kerry.

If you see this story pop up in your local fishwrap, respond to it. Write a letter to the editor emphasizing that Dean dealt with temporary budget shortfalls by reducing the rate of growth of government - a reasonable response that does not cut essential services while also not forcing the government to raise taxes - while some localities decided on their own to raise taxes to maintain previous rates of growth.

Bush on the other hand has taken a slash and burn approach, leaving states with dire choices of either steep tax hikes or severe service cuts.

It's no contest. Dean was faced with a tough decision. Bush forced a tough decision on the states. That's the Bush Tax and it is very much a reality.


Dean For America Legend Mathew Gross Is Nostalgic About Dean Nation!

posted by Heath at Saturday, December 20, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

One of the things you have to keep in mind about video taping is that you constantly kick yourself for not rolling when certain things are said. That's a trade-off to get people to feel comfortable with you, however. I wish Aziz and Anna at Dean Nation could have heard the praise for them from Mathew Gross, Dean For America Internet Legend, and the little crowd that gathered around us when the camera was off. Oh well, I'm sure they know they are loved.

Here's a little appreciation for all of Dean Nation from Mathew (via for all that you are doing. Thanks Mathew!

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DeanTV archives--University of New Hampshire at Durham (12-9-03)



posted by Heath at Saturday, December 20, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
By a clear majority, the Backbone Award goes to the troops for the incredible job they are doing in Iraq under never-before-tested circumstances. Just this week, 200 of Vermont's bravest were shipped out to join the fight for Democracy. We at Dean Nation will say a prayer and wish during these holidays for their safe return.

(Tom Kean, R-NJ gets a special tiki gift in his stocking for having the guts to speak the truth in the hope that 911 will remain a catastrophic lapse in intelligence sharing and cooperation).


Hands down, you voted for a special Jellyfish in a Jellyroll award for "Americans for Jobs, Health Care and Progressive Values."


We asked you if this was a time to directly hold other candidates accountable for such attacks by opening up the voting to the competition.

As a testament to why we will win this election--no one at Dean nation pounced at the chance to take our Democratic "leaders" down for winking at blatant, despicable fear-mongering politics (the Bin Laden pic tied with Dean).

SCforDean put it best: "Democrats don't need to attack other Democrats. Reptilicans do enough of that. Let's take the high road in these awards, ok?"

You did take the highroad SC, and you won. We'll still leave the awards open to all discussion, however, in the pursuit of democracy and the great American political experiment.

UPDATE (Aziz): Dean Nation leads the way, and TIME Magazine follows! Person of the Year for 2003: The American Soldier.

Friday, December 19, 2003


Let's Do it this Weekend

posted by Editor at Friday, December 19, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I was just looking at the Dean Nation fundraising goal and realized how close we are. Let's make our own goal for the weekend! Go ahead and donate today!

Goal: $35,000.00
Achieved: $32,327.47

We're 92% of the way there.

Trippi didn't give us a bat this weekend, but let's just do it ourselves. Let's do it to show the pundits and the critics, that not only will we meet the challenges the campaign gives us, but we'll make and meet our own goals as well. Because this is our campaign, and we have the power to take our country back!


The Bush Tax

posted by Amanda at Friday, December 19, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I believe one of our fine fellow bloggers, Nathan Newman, says it best when he called this new DFA website -- The Bush Tax -- "brilliant."

'Nuf said.

Now it's our job to make this The Mother of All Memes. :-)


Michael Reagan is bad at math

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, December 19, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Isn't it amazing how all these conservative ideolouges all claim to know the "real story" ? Case in point, Michael Reagan, son of the former President and cloned angry conservative radio talk show host #34,725, who offers up his theory about Dean's VP pick:

Despite talk about Howard Dean asking Hillary Clinton to be his running mate in November, it’s not going to happen, says top talk radio host and nationally syndicated columnist Michael Reagan.

"As far as Dean’s probable pick for his running mate, I’m willing to bet that he’ll choose Tennessee congressman Harold Ford," Reagan told NewsMax.

"Right now Dean is desperate to win the black vote in the South, and Ford is one of the most attractive and articulate people in politics today."

Let's just say that the headline for this link on FARK is "Conservative thinks that Howard Dean wants a running mate who can't legally be vice president until May 2005." 'Nuff said. The intriguing thing here though is that conservative talk show hosts are thinking about Dean's VP picks. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad one from a strategy perspective.


Dean = Dole?

posted by Trammell at Friday, December 19, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Last night on FAUX news, Greta Van Susteren spoke with Laura Ingraham, and she tossed in a whole new comparison that I had yet to hear: Dean is like Dole. No transcript -- unlike CNN, FAUX picks and chooses -- but to paraphrase:

"Like Dole in 1996, Democrats really like the guy but he's not going to beat the incumbent. And like Dole, it looks like they are going to nominate him anyway."

What a great illustration as to why we shouldn't take campaign advice from the opposition. Ingraham obviously has zero clue what is happening right now in the Democratic Party. The battle, in my view, is to not make the Republican mistake of 1996 -- namely, nominatiing some old party hack-saw like Gephardt, Lieberman, or Kerry. Dean is nothing like Dole. Dole received a consolation prize for years of service, something the Democrats are poised to avoid by nominating Dean, or perhaps even Clark, not vice-versa -- thus their appeal. Dems don't just wanna fight Bush, as the pundits seem to claim -- we wanna win.

Now, as I count them, the pro pundits (and even yours truly) on both sides of the aisle have now compared Dean to: FDR, Truman, McCarthy, Goldwater, McGovern, Carter, Reagan, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton and Dole. Do you realize that the other Dems have been compared to, well, really not one single president that I can recall? Two exceptions: a short-lived JFK exception for Kerry -- and that a comparison his campaign pushed hard -- and the unavoidable Eisenhower comparisons for Clark. Dean has been compared to at least 11 presidents and nominees from both parties in the last few months, and with alarming -- quite frankly, frustrating -- frequency.

So, any doubts that we have a candidate who's "presidential" on our hands? Not me. Obviously, on this our critics and our supporters seem to agree if all the comparisons are to be believed, and the fact that they can't pin him down to any one of them is an encouraging sign -- very encouraging.

But ultimately, you know who he reminds me of most? President Dean.

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Points West


Will Nader run if Dean runs? PROBABLY.

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, December 19, 2003 permalink 0 comments 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.


Kermit the Frog

posted by Brian Ulrich at Friday, December 19, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
For those who haven't heard, we've gotten Kermit the Frog on our side.

On that note, here is an open thread, as requested below.


Hope blooms as a cactus flower, not a magnolia blossom

posted by Amanda at Friday, December 19, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
There's been much discussion here at Dean Nation and elsewhere in the Dean community about the Confederate Flag flap and the larger issue of the Electoral map for 2004 and the red/blue state breakdown.

The conventional wisdom, repeated ad nauseum by the RNC and dutifully parroted by the right wing and supposedly unbiased mainstream media, as well as many of the other Democratic campaigns, is that the Democratic nominee must appeal to white swing voters -- basically, white suburban voters, especially men aka NASCAR dads -- in the South in order to win against GWB. Many folks have seen this as one of Dean's biggest weaknesses, he being from a granola-loving, tree-hugging Northern state.

But is this really the case? There's some fairly convincing evidence that the conventional wisdom is baloney (shocker! LOL). For example, Dean is leading in Georgia and Virginia and has garnered extensive endorsements in both states.

But there's also another way to look at the Electoral map, as Joe Velasquez and Steve Cobble point out in this article about the enormous potential of Latino voters in the blue/leaning blue states of the Southwest:

The new path to the White House runs through the Latino Southwest, not the former Confederacy, especially for a Northern nominee. Hope blooms as a cactus flower, not a magnolia blossom.

Which states hold the most potential?

Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

The 2000 election left us with a map split between blue states and red states. The conventional wisdom is that a Northern nominee, to win, will have to find a way to convert some of the old Confederate gray from red to blue. But most Southern states are burial grounds for Northern Democrats, not battlegrounds. Re-defeating George W. Bush in 2004 hinges on holding blue states on both coasts, making gains in the Midwest from West Virginia through Ohio to Missouri and adding New Hampshire -- and registering and mobilizing massive numbers of Latino voters in the Southwest and Florida.

Mobilizing the fast-rising Southwestern Latino population around the same progressive economic issues that can also unite poor whites and African-Americans is the ticket to ride in 2004. Even better, given the explosive growth rates for Latinos in the Old South -- not just in Texas and Florida but also in states like Georgia and North Carolina -- adding these new Latino votes to the strong existing African-American base there will transform American politics. As the Rev. Jesse Jackson often says, the hands that picked the cotton, plus the hands that picked the lettuce, are the hands that can pick the next President -- for years to come.

It would seem that DFA definitely recognizes this potential. Governor Dean has visited Arizona and New Mexico many, many times. He has courted the highly influential Gov. of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, who many view as the key to securing the Southwest Latino vote. Similarly, the Dean grassroots has picked up on this potential, too. Witness the innovation and success of the Southwest Voter Express, a volunteer-led project that's brought Dean grassroots folks from surrounding states, especially California, to help out in the key battleground states in the desert Southwest.

(UPDATE by Aziz : Don't forget that we have secured the endorsement of Arizona Gov Bruce Babbitt as well! Not to mention the endorsement of the DNC Hispanic Caucus leadership)

Again, the polls show this focus and strategy are slowly but surely paying off: Dean is polling well in Arizona (another AZ poll here) and Gov. Richardson has indicated that Dean is gaining huge support, especialy among Latino voters, in New Mexico (sorry, I can't find a link for that quote, but maybe someone else has it?).

As Garance Franke-Ruta and Heidi Pauken note in The American Prospect, Dean is making steady gains in this part of the world. In Arizona, "Deaniacs are swarming" and in New Mexico (which is 42% Hispanic):

...Gov. Bill Richardson has all but endorsed Dean (as chairman of the Democratic National Convention in July, he can't do so officially). Dean has run ads in Spanish and English and has three times more staff than the other [candidates].

Read the rest of the TAP article for some really good state-by-state primary voting analysis.

UPDATE: MG makes some excellent (but a bit too lengthy to post here) points in the comments thread. Check 'em out. Thanks, MG!


Muslims and Dean

posted by Brian Ulrich at Friday, December 19, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Via al-Muhajabah, I found this Shadi Hamid article in Muslim WakeUp calling on American Muslims to mobilize in the 2004 Presidential campaign, specifically for Howard Dean. It's definitely worth reading in full. Sometime in the near future, Islam will pass Judaism as the second largest religion in the United States, and Howard Dean has the best chance of bringing this demographic closer to the Democratic party.

This goes beyond the context of the battle against terrorism to the broader issues of what kind of country we are. I've had many American Muslim friends and students, and they are patriotic Americans who yet feel misunderstood and left out of American political culture. As a grassroots movement, the Dean campaign represents the best chance yet for Muslim political expression at the national level. Dean understand that to be a uniter and not a divider, you have to lead on the issues that unite all people, and Muslims need health care, education, and jobs just as much as everyone else. Dean's concept of community is very akin to the Muslim concept of umma, which lies at the core of Islam's public value system and is something from which all Americans can learn.

President Bush has taken steps to show solidarity with American Muslims, steps which I believe may have actually helped the views of Islam expressed in public discourse. (I know there are still serious problems on this issue, I just think they could be far worse.) However, my sense is that Muslims remain alienated by Bush's actual policies on issues ranging from Iraq to civil liberties. Too often, President Bush responds to Muslims as a threat. I'll tell you this, though: American Muslims are a resource, not a danger. Howard Dean understands that part of America's national defense comes from the perception abroad that the U.S. is a country people want to emulate. When I was in Jordan, a huge percentage of the people I met knew someone in the U.S. who played a major role in shaping their perceptions. Many American Muslims are first or second-generation immigrants who have significant contacts overseas. The fact is, Islamic fundamentalism isn't the only philosophy that's mobile in the Islamic world - there is a network of ideas and attitudes that stretches from Malaysian students in al-Azhar to madrasas in Indonesia, and this network loops through Michigan and Los Angeles, as well. One of the best ways to help democracy in the Middle East is to strengthen our democracy right here at home.

This is a great country, and Muslims have been part of it for centuries. Aziz would probably know more about any Muslim grassroots organization, but I hope more take his and Hamid's lead in helping take out country back from the corporations and special interests who are dominating it.

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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.