Tomorrow evening the first votes in the presidential primary will take place (though since it's Iowa, where they have a caucus, they won't be votes per se). I opted out of the Democratic Party a long time ago, but still, a Pollyanna-ish part of my brain still hopes for it to be something it hasn't been in a long time: progressive.
So, although under most theoretical circumstances, I would have jumped at a chance to elect a woman, Hillary's just too corporatist for me. And I really want to like Obama, but find his piety extremely annoying, and his recent shift to the right, and echoing of right wing frames, to be alarming at best.
I love Dodd for going to the mat last month against the telecom amnesty bill, but he just doesn't appeal to me otherwise.
In 2004, while registered as a Dem in order to vote in the primary, I voted for Dennis Kucinich, who was against the war on Iraq from the git go, and deserved to be supported for that alone. But this cycle, while I still agree with his policy positions, I don't see much practical value in his campaign. It's not resonating with me, and apparently not with many others either.
I considered Richardson momentarily, until I actually listened to him talk, which is uncomfortable and embarrassing. It's hard to believe he has the experience he has, he is such a poor communicator. And he also doesn't listen, even when the questioner is trying to help him not sound like a fool. No, thank you.
It's Edwards who has been appealing to me, even though I tried not to be smitten. He did vote for the war, which is a serious problem, because I don't believe for one minute that he, or Hillary, or any other Senator outside of the Kool-Aid drinking bobble heads, was misled by “faulty intelligence”. They made a political calculation about what a vote against war would do to their political ambitions. Edwards admitted his “error” on the vote and apologized back in 2005(?), but all it not forgiven.
And Edwards was quite the centrist when he ran in 2004. Now he's a full-throttle progressive populist, and you gotta wonder, what happened? A political epiphany? Another kind of calculation? But Edwards sounds pretty sincere to me when he talks about the working poor, health care, and the like — unlike how he sound when he talks about gay marriage (“I'm not there yet”), for instance, which is just pathetically lame.
Nonetheless, whenever I hear that something positive has happened regarding the Edwards campaign, it makes me happy, so I guess I'm reluctantly on board for Edwards in the Democratic primary.
Not that it matters much, since by the time Oklahoma votes, the choices will be far fewer, and one of them could be Edwards.
I'm not alone in my process of elimination and recognition that Edwards is the progressive's choice. Ralph Nader has said he'd like to see Edwards get the nod (and thus presumably Ralph would not run third party if Edwards was the Dem nominee). And today Michael Moore published a letter to his friends and fans in which he too whittled the crowd down to JE (though he complained that “the Democratic front-runners are a less-than-stellar group of candidates” and I agree):
[John Edwards:] a man who is out to take on the wealthy and powerful who have made life so miserable for so many. A candidate who says things like this: “I absolutely believe to my soul that this corporate greed and corporate power has an ironclad hold on our democracy.” Whoa. We haven't heard anyone talk like that in a while, at least not anyone who is near the top of the polls.
'Cause the candidate who understands that, and who sees it as the root of all evil — including the root of global warming — is the President who may lead us to a place of sanity, justice and peace.
Quite a few of the A-list lefty bloggers are endorsing Edwards, though some are staying uncommitted for now. Many of them, and I, are just hoping that Hillary comes in third so as to keep the nomination in play so more states can participate.
And look for a wide, deep and loud demand for changes to the primary process after the 2008 cycle.
Why the Blogosphere Went for Edwards
What's funny is that Obama is saying many of the same things, in his own way. The policy differences between Edwards and Obama are minimal. But Obama's tone deaf to the blogosphere. And, as a result, the blogosphere didn't trust him. Take Armando:
…we do not criticize Obama's political style on aesthetic grounds; we criticize his style because we think it will not work to actually EFFECT CHANGE. We believe that despite his being touted as the change candidate, his political style is the one LEAST likely to achieve progressive policy change.
His 'style' will be ineffective. Why did so many of us conclude this? It's because we have watched Tom Daschle, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi try to negotiate with the Republicans (in the minority, the majority, no matter) and it does not work. We have watched the Dems talk tough and then back down time and time again. We're done with conciliation and we don't believe bipartisanship is possible without first crushing the Republican Party down to a stump.