Die Hard Edmocrats
By: Mark W Adams

Cross-posted at American Street

Still mulling my choices, and I know I have more than enough time to do so. The lovefest masquerading as a debate last night did little to push me one way or another. What I saw was the Democratic ticket at a panel discussion, not a pair of bickering rivals. I just can't figure out who's driving the bus and who's reading the map and giving directions.

John Edwards himself isn't making any hasty endorsements and neither am I. I've enjoyed a unique experience organizing the online effort for Ohio Edwards supporters. It's been absolutely fascinating contacting so many netroots supporters in Ohio and throughout the nation, as well as the contact I've had with the online team at the Edwards campaign.

I've never been so engaged in politics, and I've been a political junkie since the day they brought a TV into the main lodge at summer camp, something foreign to us kids roughing it in the semi-wilderness of Camp Fitch in the Pennsylvania panhandle -- and we watched Richard Nixon resign.

We Edwards supporters even have a name for ourselves that is only now starting to emerge. Edwards Democrats. Or the even shorter, slicker Edmocrats with a simple switch of the first two letters in Democrats.

We know who we are. We know how important the message that John Edwards brought to the presidential campaign was to all of us and how he forced the debate back to important issues again and again, always moving the discussion forward towards progress. He may not have gained delegates or donors, and delegates, but he set the terms of the debate and in the end, those issues he championed became the issues that now define both of the remaining Democratic candidates.

  • -- how he shined a spotlight into the dark corners of our society that the corporate media keeps in shadows and the Village Idiots who parade around Versailles on the Potomac ignore.

  • -- how uncomfortable he made all who opposed him for his righteous indignation and powerful and unwaivering theme until they simply had to adopt his message as their own.

  • -- how he led on every important issue, forcing his opponents to tinker around the edges of his plans to distinguish themselves just to remain relevant.

  • -- how he proposed a comprehensive universal health care plan that was so well thought out, and presented such an appealing way to co-opt those who cry "socialized medicine!" at every democratic medical reform initiative; yet covered everyone and provides a path to a single-payer system by forcing the free market worshipers to put up or shut up and prove the superiority of their deluded ideology by directly competing with something they hate and fear -- a parallel government run system -- a plan Hillary and Barack could only veer from in insignificant ways merely to create talking points.
And now it's over, a new chapter begins.

Suddenly there are all these policy wonks I respect making arguments (some persuasive, some stupid) why I should support the Obamanon over Hillary -- and my wife informing me that they're all morons and that we all better back Clinton or get used to perpetual war and perpetual recession because the Republicans will figure out a way to beat Barack, but not the Clintons. I learned long ago never to dismiss my wife's instincts lightly.

I mentioned George Lakoff's piece in HuffPost in my earlier post, but failed to mention that it was an argument to endorse Obama disguised as a policy piece by a renowned political scientist.

Obama's style is painted in the best possible light over Hillary's issues driven argument for the White House. Lakoff remarkably transforms the difference in style as an issue itself -- as if liberal intellectuals who have long dismissed the shallow pandering to performance points as inferior to policy details now have permission to be inspired by Obama's rhetoric because style has been promoted by Professor Lakoff into a legitimate issue.

Nice try George. I'll take that under consideration.

Paul Rosenberg, another true wonk whom I admire at Open Left insists he is not trying to make the argument that Barack Obama isn't ready for prime time -- and goes on to devastate Obama on style and substance in piece after piece.

Also at Open Left, Matt Stoller takes a quick swipe at Clinton, but notes: These people are not on our side, they only align with us more than the Republicans do.

So the quandary continues. In my opinion we have two good, "electable," sincere Democratic candidates. I could support either of them, but I doubt with the enthusiasm I had for John Edwards. I don't have the answer, yet, to Lambert's question, "What kind of politics can turn the opportunity into permanent, progressive change?"

There are so many out there right now telling me the vast philosophical differenced Hillary and Barack represent. Obama represents "post-partisanship" at a time when I believe partisan politics is what we need to forever bury the discredited conservative agenda only the entrenched still promotes. Yet Barack goes out of his way to tell us that he will fight for our values and not cave into the assaults from the right. Meanwhile Hillary blurs the differences with the expertise only decades of obscuration can accomplish by insisting that she too has a Kumbayah streak in her.

Arguments about their respective coattails are mere theory at this point, and with more and more Republicans deciding to spend more time with their think-tanks and lobbyist friends, I don't think the choice between Hillary or Barack will make or break the opportunity for a bullet-proof Democratic majority in Congress.

Both will get us out of Iraq, but not nearly as quickly nor completely as I would like. Both will address climate change, but it may be too little too late. Both will move tax policy back towards rationality, direct an effort to untie the noose the energy cartels have around our necks, throw the union busters out of the labor department, replace some of the ideologues with actual judges, and restore some integrity to our justice system and foreign service.

My big issue has always been health care, but my plan is closer to what Dennis Kucinich wants than anything we'll see coming from these two.

The press will probably give Obama a longer honeymoon than Clinton. But they will turn on any Democratic White House as they always do -- and with Bill Kristol at the NY Times and Karl Rove at Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal, the smears against even a McCain administration would start the day after inauguration day.

All of this means that for the next four years, I will have a lot less to bitch about, but I won't be so emotionally married to our next administration to lose my perspective, which is probably a good thing, for me if not the country.