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

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Friday, January 02, 2004


I confess a fondness for Edwards

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, January 02, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
This WaPo story details the various stop-Dean strategies being used by the other candidates, spending a lot of time on Clark especially. However, to my mind the most interesting part was about Edwards:

Edwards, with his good looks and centrist views, was once the darling of many Democrats and big donors. Despite outspending his rivals early on, he remains far behind the competition in Iowa and New Hampshire and is financially constrained as 2004 begins. He is hoping to defy history and conventional wisdom by making his break in South Carolina, the top prize for many of the candidates in the Feb. 3 vote. To make that happen, a top adviser said, Edwards must crack the top three in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Edwards plans to stick to the optimistic, policy-oriented tone that he says is the best way to defeat President Bush but which has failed to excite many grass-roots activists. "There is not a big market for his ideas right now," said Donna L. Brazile, Gore's 2000 campaign manager. The North Carolina senator will fly back and forth between Iowa and New Hampshire throughout the month, and Edwards's aides believe that he, like Clark, could benefit from the attacks others are making against Dean. Edwards is the "optimistic alternative to Dean," said Jennifer Palmeiri, his spokeswoman.

Edwards is doomed - even if he places in the top three in Iowa, he won't crack that threshold in New Hampshire, where it's almost assuredly going to be a Dean win and a race between Kerry and Clark for slot 2 and 3. In Iowa, the best he can hope for is #3, behind Dean and Gephardt, but he has to worry about Clark in South Carolina, which stretches his resources thin (and Clark has money to spare, given that he isn't even trying for Iowa).

But that said, his issues-oriented approach is exactly the kind of thing we should be celebrating. Edwards has consistently been a serious thinker, and the other campaigns would be well-advised to borrow liberally (pun intended) from his position papers. And while Edwards has taken his shots at Dean, I don't think anyone would argue he's been as damaging to the eventual Democratic nominee in the way that Lieberman or Kerry have. Running an issues-based campaign is smart and represents a great example of a high standard.

Unfortunately, the time for issues is gone, until after New Hampshire.


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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.