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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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Thursday, January 01, 2004


United We Stand

posted by Ezra at Thursday, January 01, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
The other day, I took Dana to task for his Heathers post. Aziz invited me to come and give my thoughts on the subject here, and I'm glad to do so.

We're looking at a Dean/Bush match in 2004, the dynamics of which warrant some examination. Bush is one of the most divisive presidents we've ever had, however, and this is critical, when he ran, he ran as a uniting force. He promised to bring forth a new bipartisan spirit, he was endorsed by The Economist with the rationale that he could help end the partisan gridlock in Washington. His convention was solely dedicated to proving what a big tent he had, how inclusive he was going to make the Republican party -- all ethnicities, all ideologies, both sexes, hundreds of nationalities, in essence, he promised to work for anyone who had ever wanted to potentially call themselves a Republican. That was how he won -- he got the Republican base to make nice with the general electorate, and thus took them away from the image of Newt Gingrich and the puritanical warriors of the late 1990's. It worked. He got far too close in an election that never should have been close, and due to the electoral makeup of the country, getting that close gave him the win. You can argue about Florida all you want, but Gore's win was certainly not decisive -- it was neck and neck and Bush ended up playing better hardball than Gore did. However, had Gore been able to bring Nader into his tent, or had Bush been unable to bring moderates into his, the election wouldn't even have been close.

Posts like Dana's make me fear that our anger is clouding our judgment, we can't possibly forget lessons that recent and expect to win. There is no way, and I mean no way, Dean can win in a 50-50 nation where the electoral college favors Republicans if he and his supporters begin throwing roundhouses at other Democrats. The DLC is run by a couple of wannabe power brokers who have been on Clinton's coattails for far too long, but they represent a part of our base and we need them on our side. To win this election, you have to be bigger than them, you have to overlook their transgressions because their votes are more important than your satisfaction. And I can't even imagine statements as counterproductive as Dana's assertion that:
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.
Josh Marshall was the driving force behind Trent Lott's fall. He is, for those who watch C-Span, that guy on the other side of Perle arguing against the NeoCons. He is one of the most effective and important democratic journalists out there right now, you better pray that he's not turned out of Washington. Yglesias was at Dean HQ deciding if he wanted to support Dean far before most were on the bandwagon (were talking two Summers ago), he decided against it. Last I checked, you're allowed not to support Dean and be a Democrat. Yglesias also, I should add, has been one of the people constantly combating the Dean is unelectable meme on his blog. I worked for Dean, I spent a Summer in Vermont sleeping on the floor to help him. I currently support Clark. Nonetheless, if Dean wins the nomination, his election will be my sole focus for the next 9 months. You going to turn me out as well?

Evan Bayh put the DLC into place a couple months ago by stepping up at their conference and asking if they wanted to govern or complain. I ask you the same question. If you want to govern, you need to be healing divides, closing rifts, bringing new and old supporters into the fold. If you want to complain, you can attack me on my website (Niner) or attack the Democratic Party's most eloquent voices here, but you won't be seeing the White House anytime soon. United we will stand, but divided we will certainly fall.


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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.