We're back. Still cleaning Conservative Republican goo off of the keyboards, but thanks to Miss L for keeping an eye on the place. We've invited her to stick around, with the plum de nom "Token" (as in token Republican) for the occasional post and alternate perspective, but for all intents and purposes, it should be business as usual 'round here again.
It was nice to take a break, but it was also frustrating. For us, blogging is as much therapy as it is action oriented. It was very difficult to read accounts of the ABC debate and not have an outlet to berate Stephanopolis (who frankly should know better). It was difficult to read of the Pentagon Propaganda campaign in the Times over the weekend and not have an avenue to discuss our own complicity (I'm talking to you, Congressional Democrats) in buying it, hook-line-sinker.
Burnout is to be expected with such a long primary, but there is also a certain amount of perpetual frustration at lack of progress from Democrats in Congress, and our own state leadership in capitalizing on the general sense of dissatisfaction the public feels after 8 years of crony-ism and failed leadership, and working toward better policy. I think it began to feel like our wheels were just spinning, and we needed to walk away for a few days.
I can't speak for the rest of the blog, only for me, but my sense of opportunity has definitely returned. One of my first reads this morning was this from Open Left:
Shoot me now if this goes all the way to the convention, and we have to deal with ABC debate style narratives that ignore McCain for another four months. Fortunately, there are some other ways the campaign can end, even apart from a shocking Obama Pennsylvania victory. Here are just a few:The primary is wearing thin in the media, while concentrating the frustration of activists and even candidates in that McCain enjoys a near complete lack of criticism from the bloviating scribes, obsessed with portraying the Clinton/Obama competition as a "cat fight" for that ever important Jerry Springer demographic.* Delegate Conclusion: Going strictly by delegate counting, I currently project Obama will reach 2,208 delegates, with Michigan and Florida included, on June 28th. I provide details explaining this projection in the extended entry. If Obama reaches the magic delegate number even in Clinton's best-case delegate counting scenario, that could be one way for the campaign to end. Note that the delegate conclusion includes a possible superdelegate conclusion.Now, given that the Clinton campaign has repeatedly made the point that they don't consider any delegate totals to be final, and that all delegates can be swayed, they might never quit until the actual roll call at the convention. Further, since there is nothing the national political news media likes more than a "Democrats divided" narrative, this type of they will probably take the nomination campaign seriously as long as Clinton doesn't drop out.
* Financial Conclusion Given stories about how the Clinton campaign is in the red, the campaign might simply run out of money in a few weeks.
* Media conclusion: The national press could simply stop taking the Clinton campaign seriously at some point, just as they did to Mike Huckabee at some point in February. If the narrative becomes that there is no way Clinton can win, and the focus instead turns to McCain vs. Obama, then the nomination campaign will end.
* May 6th Conclusion: Given polling that shows Obama headed toward a May 6th sweep in Indiana (look at the two mot recent polls) and North Carolina, it is possible that the campaign will come to a merciful end on May 7th. A big May 6th sweep for Obama would put a serious delegate, media and financial hurt on the Clinton campaign.
* National Poll Conclusion: Another way the campaign could end is if Clinton's support among Democrats simply crashes. A recent Newsweek poll showed Obama ahead by 19% nationally, and Pollster.com currently estimates Obama with a national lead of 50.2%--39.8%. If this continue to rise, it will increase the likelihood of one of the other types of conclusions listed here.
But the failure of the media is by no means a failure of our system of electing future leadership in response to the complete failure of current leadership. I said at the very beginning, and I am even more confident in it now; this drawn out primary is an opportunity for Democrats. It gives us a direct line into almost every living room in the country, and the ear of nearly every voter, with which we can better define what our party stands for and represents against the past 30 years of Republican defined mythology. A realignment of principles and increased understanding of the values the Democratic Party embodies will, quite simply, win elections for us for many years to come. A focus of direction and purpose will push policies that without which our country has suffered. We do not need to tell the country how the Bush/McCain Repubicans have failed, they have that information. This primary is a chance for us to define for them how, exactly, we plan to get the country headed in a better direction.
This election is not, and will never be about McCain Vs. (Blank). McCain is incidental, and will remain so well into the fall. In a sense, the primary is the general election. It is about Clinton Vs. Obama, and which of them will seize control of a unique situation, and not only talk about "change," but also make it happen in a way that reflects what being a liberal, and a Democrat, and an American, and a Utahn is really all about.
So it's good to be back.