I think you underestimate Clinton and Obama here. It might not be an absolute 100% block but it is clear to me that Hillary Clinton will have a strong female voting block in every state. I strongly suspect the same is true for Barack Obama and the African-American vote.
Paths to Feb. 5th:
I agree with your comments regarding Edwards. He needs to win to stay in the game.
I think your description of Clinton describes Obama better than Clinton. As long as no other single candidate sweeps the 4 early states then as long as Obama and Clinton place well in them they are both in the game on Feb. 5.
For Edwards to a degree and absolutely the others, winning in an early state is a requirement.
Now, this is all assuming that they stay in the money game so that they can compete Feb. 5.
If the states move up on create "Super Early Tuesday" on Feb. 5 then that day probably sorts it all out unless someone has swept the first 4 states already. But as long as they stay competitive organizationally and monetarily then Clinton and Obama are in at least until Feb. 5.
But if it is truly close going in to Feb. 5 between 3 or more candidates then it may well be truly close coming out as well. That is a scenario that might lead to either a brokered convention or, more likely, a deal between 2 of the front runners to create a majority ticket.
I sincerely doubt any deal making on the floor and in the backrooms of the convention itself. That will have already been done and probably between Super Early Tuesday in Feb. and Super Tuesday in March.
There are all sorts of good government groups and issue advocay groups that are well established. But are the staff being taken care of?
My point is that even when and where there are progressive jobs to be had they are:
1. few and far between
not well paid
provide no career path
or financial incentive to stay involved
One of things going on in the netroots and supporting portions of the grassroots is the urging and desire for people to get further involved in politics.
How are they/we to do that? If you are young and fresh out of school and pretty much any old paying job will do then great! Internships for next to nothing and entry level jobs are available to some of you. If you like it a lot then mid-level jobs paying entry level wages are available to you.
If you are a bit older and have greater financial responsiblities (families, homes, health issues, whatever) then there is no room for you at all. If you want to take the skills you've learned in one field and re-apply them to politics but can't afford to start over at entry level wages then you are just plain shit out of luck.
Lots of great talent with no opportunity to apply it in an area that needs that experienced talent.
You and I aren't in disagreement here (except that your last #3 ought to be #1 as #'s 1 and 2 are supporting evidence for your conclusive #3).
The reasons for Bush Sr not to complete the conquest of Iraq were real and valid. But a blockade of the sort he put in place instead was unsustainable in the long run. Eventually something had to give.
I'm not arguing it was right or wrong, simply that it was inevitable that a second war would be fought.
The "other factor" of course is... money. Who wins the money primary and has what it takes to compete in multiple states and last long enough to survive to a convention. Money winnows candidates as much if not more then votes do.
That's one very possible scenario. The other one is a transfer of electoral power to the delegate rich states, California, Florida, and... New York.
The recent thought process has been "win the early states", small as they are, and become the defacto winner long before you have the delegate count.
But with a full field of equal quality candidates and such an apparent free for all of states pushing for early primary/caucus dates... the possibility of several candidates with relatively equal shares in Feb/March becomes much more likely... unless one candidate captures the big states.
Does Super Tuesday become truly Super?
Is Hillary a lock in New York and can she add California, Florida, and Michigan to it to become the winning candidate?
Or do 2 candidates make a deal to combine resources and delegates to become a winning ticket either before the covention or during?
Or is it way to early to speculate on all this before the various candidates have all started really working Iowa and New Hampshire?
Remember that Howard Dean was killing the field before Iowa and Kerry was dead.
this question is the complexity of the answer. Th easy answer is:
It was wrong.
The hard part is that is was wrong for so many reasons that it becomes difficult to quantify.
But we'll start here...
1.They didn't attack us and there was no evidence that they were going to attack us therefore it was wrong for our defense department to engage in offensive actions towards them.
See... I've already gotten into a two pronged answer there. Our military is not suppossed to be an offensive weapon. Their job is to defend our nation. It was a betrayal of long standing American principal to attack Iraq.
2. Iraq was cornered. We had them boxed in already. Saddam wasn't going to do jack. He'd been nailed to the ground for 12 years. However...
... I was really pissed at Daddy Bush for stopping back during GWI. The blockade was not sustainable and it was a guarentee that we would eventually fight GWII. Doesn't mean I think it was right, just inevitable.
If you are gonna fight a damn war, fight the damn war and get it over with. Don't drag it out. Don't minimize it. Don't do it on the cheap. If your standing principle is to not fight unless you have no other choice then when you fight you kick ass as hard and fast as you can. Win it. End it. And move on to reconstruction and a peaceful life for everyone again. Half-assed war is the worst possible scenario for everyone but the defense contractors.
3. Afghanistan was our opportunity to do the right thing. Not only was that where bin Laden was but going in heavy, defeating the Taliban, defeating al Queda, disarming the warlords, and then going in even heavier with security and reconstruction to rebuild Afghan society would have done more to solve the problem of islamic terrorism then anything else we could have done.
Hearts and minds. Stomachs, heads, and feet.
We had the opportunity to show the Muslim world that we were not the great Satan but rather a friend of the Muslim people. The America that is heard of in myth and legend. The one that helped rebuild Germany and Japan and bailed out France and gives generously to NGO's.
It would have ripped the rug right out from under the al Queda argument but instead we got Iraq and strengthened al Queda and fueled anti-America hatred more then they ever could have done on their own.
Iraq was the worst possible action we could have taken.
No, I take that back. Iraq is the second worst. Abandoning our civil liberties here at home is the worst possible action we could have taken.
I didn't study at Oxford or go to Harvard. But I'
ve read Marx (Karl and Groucho) and Sagan and Tuchman and Tacitus and Homer and Gregory of Monmouth and Chaucer and Froissart and Dogen and St. Francis and Benedict James and Sun Tzu and Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu and Machiavelli and Jefferson and Madison and Hamilton and Paine and Clauswitz and Dr. King and Dick Gregory and my father and a boatload of other writers on a boatload of other subjects. And I'll bet my IQ is a bigger number then Sawicky's. Big whoop.
I also span the generation gap from my formative years during the Vietnam war and activisim during that time as a child to my adult activism today.
This pissing match is what is dumb. People letting their pride and ego get in the way are what is dumb.
Can't we all just get along and go kick some neo-fascist ass together?
I'd vote for Al Gore except he's not listed in the poll.
After that I haven't made up my mind amongst the many listed here and a few not listed.
I voted for "Not Sure" as my top choice.
At this time in 2003 I had an opening favorite but had decided to spend the first half of the year investigating all the candidates to see who stood out, who caught fire, who really seemed to understand what leadership is all about.
Near the end of the summer I spent a weekend making my analysis and jumped into Howard Dean's campaign with both feet.
This year will probably progress along a similar path.
Over the coming months we shall see what we shall see.
1. Will the progressive movement see its influence suffer without a standard bearer in 2008?
No. We're here to stay. The question is what will we look like in '08? Technology says we are only going to grow. Flash back to our on-line demographic in '02, what we were by '04, and where we are in here in '06... then consider the possibilities of changes between now and '08. What will we look like? Will we be co-opted? Will we be courted? Will we become so diverse as to be multiple blogosphere's?
Also consider that in '02 Howard Dean was still an unknown to most folks outside of Vermont. He had not caught fire on-line yet. '06 is '02. Let's see what happens over the course of the next 6 months. Look at how we've already lost Warner and Feingold, two candidates everyone expected to run. Who steps up? Who steps down?
I strongly believe that organizations like DFA need to continue to focus their efforts on building strong local infrastructure and not get caught up in presidential mania. Taking seats on our local committees. Supporting state level candidates in order to be in control of redistricting efforts and reform movements at the state level... and supporting our new congressional candidates in their re-election efforts.
2. Will the progressive movement emerge as a distinct voting demographic in the 2008 primaries?
I refer part of the answer to this question back to my observation above about the nature of growth on-line. But as you appear to be talking about progressive on and off-line here I think the answer is that we already have. However... we already were to some degree... just disorganized. Now we are organizing. That, to me, is where our effort should be focused over the next 2 years... organizing the progressive voting block locally.
2a. Are African-Americans still a solid voting block in Democratic primaries given the right candidate?
Ooooh... you better believe it.
2b. Southern and rural voters
To which I'll add or reframe as working class voters. I suspect you are correct in regard to traditional white southern voters but in 2006 we made in-roads into this larger, reframed voting block. But this was part of the "republicans have failed us, let's see what democrats can do" demographic. Demcorats will have earn the right to keep this vote in 2008.
3. What will be the negative impact of the blogosphere?
It will be very interesting to see the negative impact on ourselves as we fight over candidates and as candidates recruit different bloggers and blogs to their side. It is the nature of on-line differences to turn into flame wars and there probably isn't a damn thing we can do about that.
I also think that you have rightly identified McCain and Clinton as the biggest potential losers. Hillary has a leg up in this as she has already been through the media ringer for years. She probably can't be trashed much more then she already has been. McCain on the other hand is much more vulnerable.
I strongly disagree with your assertion however, that taking down McCain and Guiliani ends Republican chances. They are every bit as capable of dark horse candidates as we are. Brownback comes to mind immediately. Hagel a quick second thought. I'm sure there are others that could sneak in as strong Republican candidates while all our fire is aimed at McCain.