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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, November 18, 2004


NOT a purple Dean Nation

posted by Todd at Thursday, November 18, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Two of Aziz's posts this week generated a bit of a dust-up in the comments (Divider not a uniter, and Defuse the demonization cycle). It seems to me that this shows a bit of a "red-blue split" here in Dean Nation, and one that can be explained by by George Lakoff's concept of framing. Further, this might help us all understand the red-blue split in the country a bit better.

The dust-up stemmed from Dean's use of the name "Slobodan Milosovic" in connection with his description of techniques which Bush used in winning the election. For some people, "Slobodan Milosovic" evokes a strong, dominating frame of a demon, Bush is obviously not a demon, so the facts of what the rest of what Dean said did not fit that frame. For others, the frame was not evoked, and we just saw a very loose analogy between types of techniques used. (Actually, Dean inadvertantly created a NEW frame, and if repeated and repeated then the words "Slobodan Milosovic" would not invoke a demon frame but a "sleazy Republican tactics" frame... this is not to say it is a GOOD frame, it probably isn't.)

I'm currently reading Lakoff's book. It is quite interesting and explains why (1) elections are decided by voters who vote their identity (not necessarily their interests), (2) how "truth will NOT set you free" (explaining what blue/red staters see as "the facts" will not convince red/blue staters of anything, because facts are useless without frames to stick to), and (3) how DLC-like "moving to the right" is absolute suicide for Democrats. Among a lot of other things.

Maybe I'll post more here as I read the book. But I encourage others to get it. Also, much of it is excerpted on the Rockridge Institute site, which is definitely worth a browse. Your first impression might be that it sounds a little new-agey (e.g. strict father v.s. nurturing parent worldviews), but there is a lot of substance there.

UPDATE (Aziz): Moved the bulk of the post to the Extended Entry. Preserve front-page real-estate!


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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.