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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004


Dean is the One

posted by Brian Ulrich at Wednesday, January 21, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Yesterday I was watching Dean speaking in New Hampshire, and he stated his fear that Bush was preparing to pull out of Iraq early for political purposes leaving a state infested with newly arrived al-Qaeda who were a danger to the United States. Now for one thing, as I said here, I think he's exactly right. But more importantly, he says straight out, even though the politically safe thing to do would probably be to appeal to the sort of latent isolationism Pat Buchanan rode to New England victories of the past. And once again it was clear that after spending a year agonizing over which Democrat to support, I picked the right guy.

The State of the Union speech was full of fuzz, and the foreign policy stuff was as fuzzy as anything else. But the facts are that there is only one candidate whom I trust to call Bush on this stuff, simply because he's been doing it from the beginning. Note this: I often see people on Daily Kos saying how tough it will be to win with the possibility of superficial progress in Iraq. On a political level, Howard Dean just showed (in a very statesmanlike tone, I might add) the strategy and the teeth to do exactly that. Certain people will try to say that Democrats are using Iraq casualties for political advantage, but it's the Republicans who were sick enough to schedule their convention so as to turn September 11 into a campaign event while trying to cut combat pay for soldiers they sent into the wrong war at the wrong time as the Taliban creep back. They have overreached, and we can take them down as long as we don't nod during the debates and take pride for supporting everything Bush has done while waiting to change the subject.

And that is one reason why I'm still here. That is why we're getting new supporters like this one. Indeed, this post from a self-described "diehard Bushie" really shocked me this morning, and I took a bit of time before figuring out he was serious. We win this election and get all of the wonderful Howard Dean domestic agenda partly by running to the right of Bush on foreign policy, not by agreeing with him or counting on military experience to mount a Max Cleland-like defense. And for all of you who have been working on this campaign through all the long months when no one gave him a chance but now feel it's too hard to make lemonade out of Iowa lemons, then I say do what you have to do. I'm proud to stand as one of the faithful, and after we come through in New Hampshire, you will be more than welcome to come join us as we take back the White House in 2004.

UPDATE: You know, this didn't come out right yesterday, and I was afraid to say it today for tone reasons, but I'll bury it here just to get it off my chest. Dean's Val Air speech may or may not have been a disaster. But he did it for us. Don't stab him in the back over that until you've given him a chance to recover. At this point, I think we've all invested enough that we owe it both to ourselves and the campaign not to give up over polls and speculation.


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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.