I was Howard Dean's Hawaii Field Organizer, and I'll tell you what happened to my energy --
I got beaten. Badly. I didn't even get to vote for my guy while his campaign was still officially extant. And then John Kerry, who correctly relied on Richard Gephardt to stupidly kamikaze against Dean in service of his ego, ran an inept campaign that allowed Bush to take office in 2004.
Then, in 2006, when we returned the Dems to Congress, they started all right, then ended up being rubber-stampers themselves.
This turned me off of politics in a massive way; the conclusion I drew was very much that Howard Dean was a uniquely inspiring figure, capable of leadership which the overall Democratic Party was not prepared for. For me, it was the candidate.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm going to cast a vote for Edwards in the primary with a clean conscience. But if Dean declared, I'd be working 40-hour weeks again. Because I believe in him.
Isn't that more or less endorsing a Cheney/Rumsfeld ticket?
Anyways, I like Edwards because he completely muffed the largest single judgement in recent US security history (the War on Iraq) and appears to now fully comprehend that. I think he'd make good decisions moving forward.
I like Obama because despite his waffliness, he has been a fairly consistent opponent of the Iraq War since the beginning.
I don't like Senator Clinton because she got it wrong and continues to get it wrong, so I don't think she has good judgement.
That's a fair point -- I meant to differentiate the more pan-ideological community from the more focused communities.
(Please note that less focus does not imply more virtue; any successful broad-based movement must consist both of focused groups moving a given aspect of the agenda forward and more general groups working to integrate the agendas.)
Speaking as a liberal white dude, I gotta say that the only place I feel at home, politically, is in the Progressive movement. I wonder if one of the factors is simply selection bias -- that there are other places (organizations, etc.) for women or persons of color to go, so the white guys end up in the general movement by default.
That and, as recipients of privilege, we do tend to have received more tools which are useful for working in politics, as well as more encouragement to participate in a general sense.
The problem with that reasoning is that "Easter Eggs" which have content which is consistent with the overall tenor of the program but different from what is straightforwardly available are part of a long tradition in games.
Even LotR can give you access to Gollum's profanity-laden MTV acceptance speech, if you go looking for it, and why not? It's part of their work.
I just cannot believe that only 7 percent of Republicans will vote for their Party's nominee, instead abandoning him for a guy who used to be the VP nominee of the other Party -- especially since Schlesinger appears to be serious and articulate.
Juls brings up my issue -- the one thing our grassroots work has not been able to do is reliably fund its up-and-comers. The long-term investment in conservative pundits, thinkers, and operatives has yet to produce an analogue on our side.
Okay, this is the best reason I've read to persevere; the idea that the influx of new candidates will shake up the Democratic leadership in DC hadn't occurred to me. I figured they'd take credit for it and just keep on doing what they were doing.