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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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Monday, January 05, 2004


a revelatory debate

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, January 05, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
This is a smart opinion piece that defends Dean on the religion issue and makes a rather cogent point:

What's especially puzzling about this emphasis on religious zeal is the way it plays out in actual campaign issues, flowing so adroitly toward the question of same-sex marriage that you can practically see White House political adviser Karl Rove busily working the locks and floodgates. As with abortion and other questions of human sexuality so central and dear to puritanical thought, it's dicey to decide in this particular instance what Jesus would do, since instead of telling us whether to marry or to burn, the Savior chose to spend His brief time on Earth making Himself extremely crystal-clear on the topic of what the wealthy and strong should be doing about the poor and helpless.

I wouldn't mind seeing this become the new wedge issue in presidential politics, since it applies quite pressingly to everything of importance going on in our time: Iraq, China, Israelis and Palestinians, AIDS and other epidemics, the economy, government entitlements, you name it. A substantive debate about God's will in such matters might be not only refreshing but profoundly revelatory.

Unfortunately, though -- since we're a nation of people giddy about God but funny about money -- the candidate who gave the most Christlike answer to this question would probably lose out big-time on Election Day.

Sadly, the last politician to try and apply Christian concepts of morality to social politics was Alabama Gov Riley, whose poverty and tax initiative was roundly defeated. But I think it would indeed be a refreshing turn of the debate to discuss how liberalism and religion are allies when it comes to helping the poor.


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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.