Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I have a question.  Why are you backing a candidate for 2008?  I ask this in all seriousness.  I backed Kerry, then Clark in 2004 for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I thought that was how to make change in the political system.  I didn't know about all the other stuff out there, and I really really wanted to beat Bush.  I'm not sure I was right, but that's what I did and why I did it.  Given that there are many ways of making change, including backing a local council race, a primary candidate for a Congressional seat, doing journalism, working on an issue, or any number of other ways of being involved, why the hurry to back one specific candidate for a Presidential contest that is extremely difficult to affect as just one person?

I'm not sure it's a bad choice, mind you.  I'm just curious why you're making that choice.  

Please, if you don't mind, try to focus less on why your guy/gal is teh awesome and more on why you think that choosing now, this early, is useful for your political goals, whatever they may be. Also, 'because it's fun' is a totally reasonable answer. For many of us, politics is still a hobby and should be fun.

Tags: 2008, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards (all tags)

Comments

154 Comments

why

Obama is the only candidate I really care about because I think he can build a lasting democratic majority by being able to sell progressive values to most of america in addition to being able to present a far different image to the world of who America is and what it stands for. In addition the supreme court is up for grabs in 2008 with all that entails, if you believe that Hillary's polarizing image with about half of voters not really willing to consider her a problem then you must do everything to stop her nomination. In addition the Iraq war has not been a failure of execution, it was a bad idea in 2002 and only one of our frontrunners means the critical judgement test on the most important issue of our time.

by nevadadem 2007-06-07 04:56PM | 0 recs
Re: why

Ok.  But why is your involvement important?

by Matt Stoller 2007-06-07 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: why

well because I give money, (alot of money I've earned "dinner with Obama" and I probably have convinced 20 people to support Obama and in NV a caucus state where not too many people decide the outcome I feel I can make a difference. I work on the computer all day so frankly alot of the reason I post is because it's gives me something to do while I work and hopefully make my points to other likely voters. Local races are important, in NV so many people are currupt who get into it (including dems)  that it's not for me, plus the presidency is still far more important than any local race even if one person can't make quite the difference they do on a local level.

by nevadadem 2007-06-07 05:04PM | 0 recs
and Nevada is an early state

So it makes sense for Nevadadem to get involved early.

by desmoinesdem 2007-06-07 07:36PM | 0 recs
ReActually

According to a June 1st Rasmussen poll his unfavorable ratings is nearly as high as Hillary.

Someone on Dkos made a good point regarding unfavorable ratings by saying that by the time we get to the general election any nominee will have an unfavorable rating in the 40's.

by world dictator 2007-06-08 09:15AM | 0 recs
Hillary Clinton

I always love women politicians in 'iron lady' mold. I admired Mrs. Thatcher tremedously in the past, and want a strong woman to lead U.S.A.

Hillary Clinton is extremely charming, intelligent, decisive, and ruthless when it's absolutely necessary. I also love her self-deprecating manner when she occasionally quips.
I am absolutely in love with her personality.

I found her general policy is very pragmatic, which also appeals to me tremedously. Since I trust she, I have no interest in delving into those boring details, and I just believe she'll do a fantastic job.

I really don't care how she voted on Iraq war. I know she's been shifting around these days in order to appeal to the far left. Again, as long as she can win, I dont care.

By the way, I am NOT a woman!!!

by bryandem 2007-06-07 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

You know what?  I am vacillating between HRC and Edwards.  Long before you were here, I took a lot of grief on mydd for supporting Hillary.  It seemed like I was one of only a few.  Why did I support her?

Not for the issues.  None.  I like her candidacy because of two simple things:  she's a woman and she has balls.  Period.  Not politically correct, but that's why.  I want to see a female president in my lifetime, goddam it (I am a guy).  

But it's hard right now for me because healthcare is my big issue (that and civil rights and gay rights).  And I was totally turned off when HRC said that by the end of her SECOND term she wanted universal coverage.  As we know from history, second terms are where ideas go to die.  LBJ with the great society, FDR, even Bill Clinton and Reagan all got major initiatives done in their first term.  So it scares me that maybe things won't change vis-a-vis healthcare if she keeps talking about "the end of her second term."

Oh, and another reason why I like Hillary:  she looks almost exactly like my mom.  The same face, even eye color, hair, mannerisms, etc...  It's uncanny.  I half expect now to have some Hillary-hater say they feel sorry for mom, haha.

by jgarcia 2007-06-07 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

I actually appreciate her for saying that we will have universal health by the end of her second. It's almost like to Edwards telling us that we will have to raise taxes to acheive that. The candidates can promise us anything, but she is by far more realistic and pragmatic.

by PhillyGuy 2007-06-07 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

I agree about liking her realism.  However, did you read my part about second terms and getting nothing done during them?  No one in the Congress is going to go ball to the wall for a prez who cannot run again.  That's just the way it is.

Oh, and if history is any guide, the Dems have a good chance of losing at least half the congress by her second term, squelching any kind of meaningful healthcare program.

by jgarcia 2007-06-07 07:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

It's not like she's not going to do anything until her second term.

She has been very clear about making incremental changes to our health care system now as a senator as opposed to waiting until 2008. She has already introduced legislation to improve coverage for children.

by PhillyGuy 2007-06-07 08:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

I wouldn't hold my breath for this president to sign any bill that offers one iota of meaningful health care reform. He could care less what's politically popular. Health care cannot be effectively reformed until we have a Democrat (or even a half-sane Republican) in the White House.

I dislike HRC's health care plan because of her emphasis on the health care industry playing an active role in shaping policy. The health care industry is the enemy and should be approached as such. She is conceding the battle before it has even started - we need someone who will purposely and effectively fight the health care industry, because that is the only way to enact meaningful change.

Plus the "second term" line seems like a cover for the fact that she was burned on health care reform once, and doesn't want to screw up her first term with another imbroglio.

by LandStander 2007-06-07 09:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

But I think her belief about insurance companies points to her pragmatic belief. UHC has a much better chance of passing if it isnt the bane of the insurance company.

by world dictator 2007-06-08 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

But what are the chances of it being a worthwhile and significant reform if insurance companies are able to influence the policy?

The public good comes first, then the insurance industry can adapt. I am sure they'll figure out a way to keep making money (unless we make them obsolete - a boy can dream).

by LandStander 2007-06-08 10:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

but UHC probably will require some sort of tax increase.  I don't really see a problem with that.  but it will be necessary.

by Valatan 2007-06-07 09:14PM | 0 recs
a better woman will come along

One of our strong women governors will run for president someday, and that's when I (a woman) am likely to support a woman for president.

You sound old enough to remember the 1990s. That's when Democrats were on the defensive all of the time because of the right-wing hate machine against the Clintons, but the Clintons didn't do a damn thing for progressives. Environment, trade, you name it--Clinton sold us out.

You are right to suspect that Hillary wouldn't lift a finger to bring universal health care. Nibbling around the edges is all she would do. Why do you think corporate lobbyists are supporting her.

Hillary has the least chance of winning a general election, and would probably be a worse president than any of the other serious candidates in the Democratic field.

by desmoinesdem 2007-06-07 07:53PM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

your post makes sense (all except the last paragraph).  hence, why I am torn.  I think that, except for the two Supreme Court picks, Clinton's was a very very underachieving and disappointing presidency.  And that healthcare statement makes me lean toward Edwards right now.  Although voting against one's mom look-a-like is tough.

A woman governor would be great as a candidate.  However, here's a question for you:  don't you think that Hillary, being the very FAMOUS former first lady to a president who is still adored (i don't know why) by the party brings to the table gravitas and that this is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

by jgarcia 2007-06-07 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

Its like abstinance... we need to hold out for the right one. jk.

But, I would much rather see an Ann Richards style politician than Hill.  

And, I wouldn't be surprised if Napolitano was a VP choice.

by gb1437a 2007-06-07 08:04PM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

The problem with Napolitano (and I love her - except for her statements on Iraq) is, and if I may be so bold, is sexuality speculation.  I was active in Arizona politics and it's an open secret.  Even if she's not, there's still the rumors and speculation.  It sucks that that is a society we live in (and I am gay as well).  And you know just how vetted a veep pick is by the media and far-right.

But you have a point.  Maybe waiting would be worth it and is the right thing to do.  I am nervous about HRC's potential to fuck over worker with "free" trade deals and healthcare.  Oh, and she never made the environment an issue til Gore made headway with it.

by jgarcia 2007-06-07 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

Didn't know that - so is Rick Perry btw.

How bout' Blanche Lincoln - I know she is moderate now, but I think that is because she represents arkansas.  She would be an interesting look for vp.

by gb1437a 2007-06-07 08:43PM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

C'mon, think of mom.  She looks like your MOM.  You can't vote against MOM. It's MOM.

by Kingstongirl 2007-06-07 08:09PM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

you're Hill-ar-i-ous.  get it?  Hill?  haha.  anyway, in the end, i might have to do it.  It's funny how a politician of such fame can resemble a family member.  And my mom is only like three years her junior.  

I don't know, maybe the prospect of actually hearing "madam president" like you stated in your other post will trump any issue concerns i may have.  btw, i like this discussion.  i am rarely this frank online.

by jgarcia 2007-06-07 08:18PM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

I don't think she is super progressive, but frankly none of the top tier candidates are (based on voting record). However, she has been consistently left of the center on just about any issues. As she said, "the differences among us are minor compared to the differences between us and the Republicans." I agree. Therefore, I tend to look at other tangible factors in making my decision, such as the historical nature of her presidency.

by PhillyGuy 2007-06-07 08:45PM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

I'm not sure Obama doesn't count as "super progressive" his Ill. record is far left - they only thing he did in the Senate non-progressive like is the Coal stuff.  And, if you go through and look at his admendments, which usually fail, they are liberalizing every bill.

by gb1437a 2007-06-07 08:52PM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

So that's why we have secret ballots...

by Englishlefty 2007-06-08 07:05AM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

When have been able to hide something from your mother?

One look and she start tut-tut-ing.

by Ernst 2007-06-08 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: a better woman will come along

I second those sentiments regarding HRC. That and the fact that think she is a coorporate shill.

by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 08:34PM | 0 recs
Re: BS. Clinton did more for America...

Than any democrat in the last 30 or 40 years.

Clinton didn't "sell you out" Clinton is a moderate and never claimed to be anything but a moderate. And because he was a moderate he got elected.

Furthermore, Clinton did attempt to address progressive issues such as allowing gays to serve in the military, Universal Healthcare, family medical leave act (signed into law) ergonomic standards (signed into law), increasing the minimum wage (signed into law), fighting ethnic cleansing,tax cuts for the middle class (signed into law.) More than that he gave us optimism and hope something Republicans had a monopoly at that point because of Reagan and ending the cold war. Oh not to mention that giant surplus he left us with.  But a lot of the blowback Clinton recieved was from his own party before the 94 elections so Democrats have enough blame to spread.

by world dictator 2007-06-08 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: BS. Clinton did more for America...

Clinton oversaw an unprecedented expansion of global trade (everyone talks about NAFTA, but he did MUCH more than that), an expansion of the drug war, the 'bipartisan reform' of welfare, he signed the Telecommunications Act and the Defense of Marriage Act, and waged an inhumane air war in the Balkans (despite Wes Clark's insistence for ground troops).

He did good things too, but let's not pretend he was some amazing liberal president - he was not.

by LandStander 2007-06-08 10:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

When has she ever appealed to the far left?  The answer is not in a long, long time.

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-06-07 07:22PM | 0 recs
During Watergate?

by Valatan 2007-06-07 09:19PM | 0 recs
Re: During Watergate?

Wouldn't that be a long, long time?  30+ years?

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-06-07 11:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton
Yes

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by Glen 2007-06-08 04:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

Because the far left is never satisfied with anything not purely of the far left. How much credit has HRC gotten for trying to provide UHC before it was cool? None. Sure she failed but what have any of us done to make this a reality? How much props has HRC gotten from being at the forefront in the recent debate to end don't ask don't tell and allow gays to serve openly. None. How much credit does HRC get for being the biggest pro choice pro female empowerment politicians in quite sometime? None.

The far left wants and wants and wants but never gives unless you're from the same cloth. I mean Bill Clinton still gets disrespect from people on the far left and he did more for America than any progressive has lately, no offense to anyone but its true.

Have you guys ever wondered why the far right gets more done in politics than the far left? I'm seriously asking this question. I have a few theories but I think its something all progressives need to think about because it probably explains why democrats keep losing elections and poorly governing the country even though we,as democrats, are right on the majority of issues, something I saw as a moderate.

by world dictator 2007-06-08 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

"Because it's fun" is a large part of my answer. But more than that, looking at the weakness of the Republican field, I think any of the top Democrats would beat any of the Republicans, so Democratic primary voters are essentially the ones deciding who the next president will be.

Another thing is that the collapse of the Republican party under Bush has presented Democrats with an opportunity that comes along once in a generation. Similar moments happened after the Depression and Watergate, when Hoover and Nixon demonstrated the Republican party's inability to govern effectively. In the former case, FDR was able to seize the moment and not only create a generation of Democratic dominance, but move the progressive cause forward significantly. Jimmy Carter had a similar opportunity, and he blew it on both counts. I'm supporting my candidate because I feel like he recognizes the potential for change in the political moment we live in and is willing to capitalize on it to move this country forward.

by Gpack3 2007-06-07 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

But more than that, looking at the weakness of the Republican field, I think any of the top Democrats would beat any of the Republicans, so Democratic primary voters are essentially the ones deciding who the next president will be.

That's the fun of it for me, too.  The Republican candidates are so overtly awful that I can look at four or five (or more) of the Democratic candidates and not have to worry about electibility and all that other nonsense this far ahead of time.

Sure, there's a little that I don't like about each of our candidates.  I'm an Edwards guy, but he sounds a little fake to me.  HRC is more than fine, but I prefer not to have another Clinton or Bush right now.  Obama's a charismatic wonder, but he just seems a little thin on leadership and policy.  I don't even have the huge beef with Biden that a lot of others do, though I understand the frustration.  I like Richardson, though he seems to put down the Dem base rather often.  Hell, I love just about everything Chris Dodd has done so far.  

But the thing is, they're almost all good choices!  No holding my nose and voting next year in Pennsylvania, and that's a nice position to be in for once.

by RisingSign 2007-06-08 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

At this point, John Edwards, with an outside potential that I could be 'Gore-d.'  Why?  That whole 'we should end poverty' thing, and every time I think he is going to move to the right, he just keeps on doing his liberal thing.

There are some notable exceptions, of course.  But, to me, I think slowly but surely Edwards is laying down the gauntlet to Democrats to stand for something real and fundamental:  ending generational poverty.  As Sirota mentioned today, and others have mentioned recently, the fact that GOP and Dem insiders don't like him just makes me think he is doing something really right.  

If Gore gets in, and he is still Al, version 2.0, then I will have a little bit tougher decision.  And I would be overwhelmingly happy with a President Obama.

But give me the guy who has decided to campaign like Bobby Kennedy, and you have who I support.

As an aside, in 2004, my support went something like Clark-->Dean-->Kerry/Edwards.  But, he has really impressed me in the last 3 years, from just about the second the campaign ended.

by DanielUA 2007-06-07 05:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

And, more to the point:  Why? Because backing someone I believe in is a hell of a lot of fun.

by DanielUA 2007-06-07 05:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I would be less involved if there were still true moderate Republicans but it's hard to sit on the sidelines with a bunch of people I think are mad on the other side. Because I think beating the other side is very important I think about who among our side is best equipped not just to beat the Republican candidate but to break their machine.

by joejoejoe 2007-06-07 05:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Your question is a good one.  I know you were hoping for answers that didn't involve how awesome we think our candidate is, however, John Edwards is the entire reason I'm actively involved in politics again, after having given up for about 20 years.  I've always voted, but always felt I had to somewhat hold my nose to do so in most cases.  

John Edwards is the only candidate in my entire lifetime that has really inspired me and lived up to my expectations of what a leader for our country should be like.  He speaks out strongly on all the issues I care about, he's got detailed plans for all of them, which I almost always agree with, he takes on issues like poverty when no one else will.  Honestly, without him, I would probably be just as frustrated with the Bush administration, but I would have absolutely no hope.  Knowing John is out there working to save America keeps me going every single day.

by sirius 2007-06-07 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

After reviewing Greg Palast's work on the '04 elections, and hearing his prediction that the GOP candidate will start the '08 race with as many as a million votes on top of the Dem, I decided not to support a specific candidate. Instead I decided to focus on protest.

by Oli Babba 2007-06-07 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

When did Palast make this prediction?  I don't think the Republiscum can steal Ohio any more, so I don't know if I buy Palast.

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-06-07 07:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?
I think the question is "why back a prez candidate in 2007"?  
I'm not.
I have limited time to dedicate to candidates, so I am trying to help local folks who I believe can make a difference. My state has never had an influence in the electoral college either.... so I will continue my current pattern till a new primary calendar convinces me otherwise.
 
by quadmom 2007-06-07 05:18PM | 0 recs
Good question -- hadn't thought about it that way

  I am as of now not backing any particular candidate -- I'm more anti-Clinton than pro-anyone at this point. I'm doing everything I can to change the party's defeatist, deferential-to-Republicans culture, so I gravitate to Democratic figures who represent a promising challenge to that ingrained culture -- Howard Dean, Ned Lamont, Al Gore, John Edwards, perhaps Barack Obama, though he hasn't convinced me yet. The sooner we unmoor ourselves from the Daschle-era mentality that almost killed the party, the better.

 This isn't just talk; I'm on my local Central Committee. We recently had a discussion on whether we should sponsor a special showing of Michael Moore's new film as a fundraiser. The "establishment" people on the committee were fretting about how "divisive" Moore was, and one of them actually quoted Sean Freaking Hannity. I yelled back, "STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT THE REPUBLICANS MIGHT THINK!!! STOP IT ALREADY!!! WE DON'T NEED THEIR APPROVAL FOR ANYTHING!!!"

 If a presidential candidate represents that kind of change, I'll happily support him or her. Hillary Clinton could have been that candidate. She's chosen not to be. So I'll look elsewhere. But in the meantime, I'll work institutionally -- and lend my support to a candidate if he convinces me he's real about changing the culture.

by Master Jack 2007-06-07 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Good question -- hadn't thought about it that

Why all the 2 ratings?

by adamterando 2007-06-07 06:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I don't see any point in choosing later.

As for why Obama I think that an african american president who is of his mindset would be enormously helpful to society.

Also I think that he is the most tech savvy.

In 2004 I pretty much just supported Dean.

by sterra 2007-06-07 05:20PM | 0 recs
Why?

Because last time I didn't try to get involved in or form a strong opinion on the primary nomination process, and while I wasn't paying attention, John Kerry got the nomination.

Because I think it's important for people to be informed about and involved in primaries.

Sure, as you point out no one person will be deciding the outcome of the primary and certainly not me. But on the other hand, what happens if EVERYBODY follows this logic to its natural conclusion? That just leads to apathy and nonparticipation, and an uninteresting, nonrepresentative candidate that Democratic voters are still apathetic about when the general election comes. We contribute to the outcome as much as you can. That is enough.

There are at least three or four candidates I'd consider acceptable in this particular primary. I've been trying to back all of the candidates I consider acceptable, although I definitely have one I'm backing more than the others. Why am I backing one of them more than I'm backing the other two? Well, because I've researched the candidates and I like one of them better :P

by Silent sound 2007-06-07 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I'm backing a presidential candidate because the US government has a yearly budget of over 2 trillion dollars. If you want to enact material/environmental/social change in the world then you need to do work to do that through the pervailing power structures, i.e., where the money is.

People talk about private charity, but ain't nobody got 2 TRILLION to work with EVERY YEAR. So whoever controls that can enact a hell of a lot of change.

In addition we can enact a lot of change through the type of people that lead agencies (especially the EPA and the interior department and the Ag department).

How many acres does the US Forest service and do the BLM control? Billions I think.

Whoever controls the presidency controls the most powerful position on earth. That's why I'm involved.

by adamterando 2007-06-07 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I think it's too early to settle down with one candidate for the entire party this far out. So many things can happen between now and next summer, and  if we have our candidate set in stone by February next, that's it. We're stuck. I think the spoils of having the process begin this early go to Corporate Press and campaign staff -- no one else much benefits at this point.

To me, most of the current candidates are little more than career politicians who will say anything to be president. Some of them talk pretty, but as they say, actions speak louder than words.

I'm patiently waiting to see who else enters the race because of the current crop, I'm unimpressed. If I absolutely had to pick one of them it would be Kucinich, although I realize he hasn't a snowball's chance.

by jen 2007-06-07 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I really believe Obama can change a lot - and want to be their early to support him.  I've been at this awhile, working to draft him since last year.

I'm also concerned about what the ticket looks like in Texas - and what the presidential race means to it.  And, I want to express those concerns in the blogging world, so we take than into consideration.

It is fun!  And having the chance to talk to people around Austin, and N.J. and tell them why I believe in Barack - while their still forming opinions - is really important.  I could wait for everybody to make up their minds I guess, but then I wouldn't be working to change anything - but my own vote.

by gb1437a 2007-06-07 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

i'm a news junkie and a political junkie

by sepulvedaj3 2007-06-07 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I spent most of the hot stove league expecting to root for Clark, but when pitchers and catchers reported, it became apparent that he wasn't playing ball this year. In looking at the trade prospects, most of them seemed like they could win despite all having one flaw or another. This year's Yankees aren't exactly the invincible Yankees of the recent past (ok, last millenium), so it's fine to let some of our new players compete for playing time.

Last time, I felt that the phenom who was so good in the Vermont league was the only one who could show his teammates how to compete. They may not have been all that happy at the time, but being around him has raised their game. They learned how to fight, how to win. I'll just sit back and let them.

So I'm just watching the game, filling out the score cards, calculating stats and enjoying the season. I still get worked up over the Texas League, which has shown some promise, but needs a few more fans in the bleachers before they really start to believe. Build it. We'll come.

by IVR Polls 2007-06-07 05:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

You pose an interesting question and I have a complex answer.  I haven't chosen my candidate John Edwards early.  In fact, I don't know that I ever 'chose' him at all.  I think it was the other way around, really.  I think he chose me.  
Let me tell you why.

When Senator Edwards ran his very first race... to the Senate, representing my state, North Carolina I was extremely skeptical.  First, it really bothered me that someone voiced an ideology that so closely mirrored my own.  I had never before encountered anyone who did that and it sort of blew me away.  I thought long and hard and tried to analyze why I found everything he said to so closely align with mine.  Finally, though I reluctantly gave him my vote and vowed to watch him 'like a hawk' and that I did.  I visited his website at least once every day or two and if something interested me, I went there more often. I was determined to 'catch him' if he was not doing what he said he would do.  I often gave him my 'helpful bits of information' and was always surprised when he responded and in a timely manner. Furthermore, if we didn't exactly agree on something he explained his position and why and I either understood it better or sent more helpful hints.  Finally, one day, I came to the realization that I really trusted this guy.  I really liked what he was doing and I didn't have to keep such a close eye on him.  Then, I found myself telling people 'I sure do wish he would run for president..  He must have heard me and nobody was more delighted than me when I first started hearing the rumors that he might.

It never occurred to me not to vote for John Edwards and it probably never will.  John Edwards and my vote are like a match made in heaven.  It will always be there fore him whenever he needs it.  So, I haven't made a decision yet.  I didn't need to.  It was made for me several years ago.  Why change when you already support the best?  For me, it's John Edwards all the way..

by Carolina Voice 2007-06-07 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?
That's about the most convincing promo for Edwards I have ever read. NIce job. Don't know if I support him or not but that is very compelling. Now, if you said that in the MSN I might not believe you but given the context I tend to.
Cheers
by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 08:45PM | 0 recs
My answers

I'm not doing any work in this race yet, nor giving money to pres candidates, because at this point neither Obama nor Edwards is obviously the superior choice.  I have opinions on the race, and I follow the race, partly because the entire country is following it too and has opinions, and it's fun to talk about.  On the last day of Q1, I thought hard, and then sent my money to Jerry McNerney, cause neither Obama nor Edwards had really sold me.  I could have split my donation and given half to each of them to help lift them both over Hillary, but it seemed better to help a vulnerable freshman appear stronger.  So far, I'll probably do a similar thing on the last day of Q2.    I follow the race because it's fun to think and talk about, and because at some point something might indicate that there is a candidate that I really should work hard for, and I won't know it unless I'm watching closely. But in terms of work, I'm not "backing" anyone right now.

In terms of casual thoughts, I'd rather Obama win, because when it comes to the world's perception of America, Obama represents the sharpest possible break imaginable with the last 8 years.  Electing Obama just makes a statement, on a strictly symbolic level, that electing Edwards or Clinton would not, and that's actually what I care about most.  Obama could even be a worse president on domestic issues and I still wouldn't care.  Can you imagine him taking a world tour after his election?  Assuming he is willing to put political capital on the table to address global warming, which I do assume, and assuming that we elect him with enough of a mandate (and a Senate) to do health care, which I do hope, then everything else is just details.  Actually, that's not true, the real devil is in the details, specifically whether Edwards or Obama allows corporate boardrooms to continue preying on Americans and non-Americans alike.  On that point I think Obama may or may not be properly motivated, and Edwards, while properly motivated, is probably not capable of winning that particular fight.  Maybe in an Obama or an Edwards second term.  But for now, in terms of just undoing the damage of the Bush Administration, I like Obama.

by texas dem 2007-06-07 05:54PM | 0 recs
Hillary Clinton

I like her pragmatic and incremental approach to difficult issues. It comes with experience. She understands that nothing is black and white and that sometimes you have to compromise in order to achieve your goal. I actually see a lot of myself in her. I was once a lot more idealistic having attended one of the most liberal colleges in the country. I was a staunch supporter of Howard Dean back in 2003 because his message resonated with me. However, as I stepped into the real world, I've become more cognizant of the challenges of actually accomplishing these grandiose goals. Every politician over-promises and under-delivers. That's just the reality. Therefore I don't really care about the specifics of the plans that candidates offer as much as their track record. I want to get a general sense of the values that are important to them.

Hillary Clinton has been an undisputed leader in advocating for children, women and other minorities. I'm firmly convinced that she is deeply committed to social justice and equality based on what she has done and what has attempted to accomplish.

I also admire her strength and remarkable resilience in facing unrelenting attacks that no one else in history has had to endure.

by PhillyGuy 2007-06-07 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Clinton

That's a good point. Hillary has paid her dues in ways few of the others have.

by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 09:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

This year everything being earlier, I think more than ever it is best to work with the candidate that you are for.

I am for John Edwards, and he needs alot of support up front, and early to get a solid base.  Clinton has more money and Obama has more money and seems to be on a media fast train.  All the more important to work for John Edwards.

His ideas are leading, many of which the others have had to address. Universal health care is a very important issue to me. John Edwards I have more faith in, reading Obamas 2 books, listening to his speech and watching him - I have no trust in him. I find a person willing to give to much away that is important to bipartisanship.

Clinton, definately has the coporate list behind her.

Edwards is who I was for before John Kerry won the nomination - John Edwards is the one I will stay with.

by dk2 2007-06-07 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I back a candidate (Obama), because all maxims which stem from autonomous legislation ought to harmonize with a possible realm of ends as with a realm of nature.  In principle, I believe, you must act as if your maxims should serve at the same time as the universal law (of all rational beings), meaning that we should so act that we may think of ourselves as a member in the universal realm of ends, legislating universal laws through our maxims, in a possible realm of ends.

by pontificator 2007-06-07 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I'm behind Obama for similar (quasi-kantian)reasons. I'm more incline to use Rawls' or Thomas Nagel's formulation, though.

by DPW 2007-06-07 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

So, you support Obama on principle or because you think we can win?

by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 10:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Your screenname is so appropriate.  LOL.

by dlh77489 2007-06-08 05:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

It is simple Matt.  One backs the Presidential candidate that most closely aligns with ones political beliefs.  

If you believe the polticial machine should be running the country than you back the political machine candidate.

If you believe the progressive grassroots movement should be running the country than you back the most progressive candidate.

If you cannot decide who to back...then you sit on the fence and observe until you come to a decision or the decision is made and then you simply vote for the chosen candidate.

by Lizzy 2007-06-07 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Hillary is my choice.  I am really excited at the thought of having a woman President.  If she were elected, I think she would make it possible for other women to be taken seriously who run for President.  It would hopefully break that glass ceiling permanently.  Truthfully, I am pleased with the respect she is given by her adversaries as a candidate.  There is always talk that nobody likes her, but no one underestimates her.  Her candidacy is showing other women who aspire, or who may now aspire to the Presidency, how to effectively campaign.  This is why I support her candidacy.

Now why do I support her for President?  I admire her.  I think she is thorough and thoughtful and dedicated.  I think that once she decided to run, she committed herself wholeheartedly to the task.  I think she will be humble, respectful, grateful and responsive to the American people.  I say humble in the sense of putting progress above personal ego.  I think the lives of women and children will improve should she be elected.  Her background and history tell me that she is strong and will stand her ground in a fight. Having been in the White House and the Senate, I think she will know exactly what to do and how to do it from the beginning.  She has the inside Washington/Congress scoop that Bill lacked in 1992.

On the international front, I think a Hillary Clinton presidency will be greeted positively.  I think this is where Bill Clinton's legacy comes into play.  The world, for the most part, was much less hostile to our policies and therefore more willing to work with us under Bill Clinton.  We've squandered that trust over the last 6 years, but I think a Hillary as POTUS would immediately relieve some of the skepticism the world has about our intent.

At the end of the day, I just want to hear the words Madam President.

by Kingstongirl 2007-06-07 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I could have written your post.  Btw, does your mother resemble Hillary?  LOL.  Please find my post upthread.

by jgarcia 2007-06-07 07:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

No, my mother is a dreadlocked, free wheeling hippy.  I am much more conservative in appearance and attitude, though still liberal, than her.

by Kingstongirl 2007-06-07 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I haven't chosen a candidate and don't expect to until I walk into the primary polling place.  Any of the candidates is better than all the Republican candidates.

by jayackroyd 2007-06-07 06:12PM | 0 recs
I thought you supported Howard Dean in 2004 ...

Matt --

I could be wrong, but I recall you saying you had gone to Iowa in 2004 to help Howard Dean's campaign.

As for who to support this time around, I think you raise an excellent point in general.  Why get behind a particular candidate at this early stage of the game?

One of the things I've noted on the blogs is how certain people get behind a candidate, and then they're in denial whenever weak points about that candidate come out.  Like when Obama gave his first substantive policy speech on foreign affairs and said we should increase the size of the military.

I was an Obama supporter earlier.  Then I attended the California Democratic Convention and became an Edwards supporter.  Of course, I was careful to point out that my opinion can change between now and February 2008.

It's too early to get behind a candidate, unless you're willing to start volunteering.  As someone who writes extensively about national, state and local politics, I don't feel it's prudent for me to start rallying the troops behind any candidate.  Especially when Al Gore could still enter the race.

by Paul Hogarth 2007-06-07 06:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Good question. I'd like a candidate who changes the debate, who doesn't do the poll-driven namby-pamby Shrum kind of crap that has hurt the D party, who is an economic populist, who will speak the truth about the environmental limits within which we must live, who will not repeat the standard "we're more hawkish than you" on foreign policy but will instead take on the military-industrial complex, who believes in democracy, and so on ...

I would back such a candidate because I think this person's candidacy would be good for the D party and good for the country. And because I am kind of obsessive about politics.

Right now I don't see the perfect candidate. I'll probably slide a little dough to Edwards since I like to hear him dismantle the silly "war on terror" frame.

by mightymouse 2007-06-07 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

It's good to ask this question now.  

When the official delegate selection process starts a little over 7 months from now, a lot of people will make choices - lots of people who aren't even paying attention now.  But now, I think one reason many people start early in the process is ego-driven.  All of us who are political junkies like to think we can have some effect on the outcome of the election and, ultimately, on the way the country is governed.  We may be over-estimating our own importance.

There is also the call to our better nature.  Progressives want to do good in the world, and backing a candidate early can, possibly, effect which issues are discussed and can incrementally help to make the world better.  

There is a chance to have one's issues and views aired in public, especially for those whose voices are drowned out in the MSM, both by the right-wing noise machine and by the DLC and other "centrist" types.  The Kucinich, Gravel and Paul supporters come to mind in this regard.  Backing a candidate at this time really can help get that message some play in the public sphere.

But really, all of it is based on the premise that backing a Presidential Candidate will somehow lead to a better world, however we conceive that better world to be.  Perhaps working for issues or in direct action each of us could do more.  That is at least something to think about, and something that a blogging acquaintance of mine has written about here.  Give it a read, it won't take long.

by Banjoist 2007-06-07 06:34PM | 0 recs
In the last presidential election, I waited

until January of 2004 to get active.  By the time I actually got to vote in the Arizona primary, it was all over.  I did not like the already anointed Kerry so I voted for Edwards anyway.

I resented that it was decided before most of us had any say.  I resented that Kerry was chosen as the nominee on the basis of what most people read or saw ad infinitum in the MSM: that Kerry was the candidate who could win.

This cycle, MSM whined early on about how early the candidates started campaigning.  By that time, however, they had already crowned Hillary (the first woman) and quickly decided that Obama (you know, the first African American to possibly win the White House) was her rival.  

That is their story and they are sticking to it.  They are trying hard to make it reality.  It makes me angry that they are shaping the news instead of reporting on it.

I don't want another nominee stuffed down our throats.  I want the best candidate.  That is why I am being vocal and active about John Edwards.

by ashlarah 2007-06-07 06:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I am backing Barack Obama because . . . , well, because he's the first pres. candidate I've ever liked at all. I've always been interested in political matters from a philosophical standpoint, but everytime I've paid attention to actual politicians, I have found no one interested in genuine public (impartial) service. They all work for their little interest groups and, as a result, can't be bothered to consider competing interests. It's all about friends and enemies. Bush gets 51% of the vote and suddenly he has a mandate to do whatever it is the bare majority wanted (in addition to whatever divine commands are lurking in his head). You're either with us or against us. Reasonable disagreement? What's that?

Obama, on the other hand, doesn't seem interested in ramming government down anyone's someone's throat. He seems to realize that a legitimate political institution is such that no one has grounds for moral complaint about the way it takes into account and weighs his interests. That's what putatively makes our liberal democracy superior to the shameful democracies in other parts of the world (middle-east, I'm looking at you).  Everytime I hear/see/read Obama, it appears to me that he takes this idea seriously, which is why he's able to have wide appeal without pandering (although I've noticed a little pandering lately, but very mild stuff). Of course, he may just have me fooled, but I have a feeling he's genuinely different. I was skeptical of his charm at first, but he won me over a few months ago.

Oh, also, he: is extremely intelligent; deliberative; is a great communicator; and has a unique story that connects him to a plurality of veiwpoints.

In short, he's the opposite of George W. Bush, and I can't think of anything the country (and universe) needs more. So, I'll offer all the help I can.

by DPW 2007-06-07 06:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I feel like it's 1987 again (after Hart screwed up his way out of the contest). That was the only recent Democratic primary where I didn't feel like I had a candidate in the Democratic primary race, until 2007. I wound up backing Babbitt (and liking Jackson).

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-06-07 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I just found out Gary Hart went to Yale law and DIVINITY!  which was really surprising to me.

by gb1437a 2007-06-07 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Hart 08?

by gb1437a 2007-06-07 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Nah, you don't get a second chance after blowing it like he did.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-06-07 09:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

As a young woman, I worked advance and field for Hart in the California primary in 84--also worked the dem convention which was in SF that year.  I became friends with all these kids who had lived in Iowa for months and helped him win there.  Real campaign junkies.  They exposed me to the wild and fantastic side of a presidential campaign.  Martin O'Malley--the now Gov. of Maryland was there.  It was so much fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone who can put their life on hold for 6-12-18 months and work 24/7.  The Hart campaign changed my life for the better (despite the fact that Hart turned out to have that same narcissistic disease as Clinton).

by aiko 2007-06-08 04:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Try Mo Udall in 1976. I loved the guy.

by Michael Bersin 2007-06-07 06:55PM | 0 recs
my brother caucused for Mo Udall!

I was too young to vote, but he was turning 18 in 1976 and went to caucus for Udall. He amassed quite the collection of political buttons for Mo.

by desmoinesdem 2007-06-07 08:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Udall had one of the great just-misses nominations campaigns of recent history for the Democratic nomination.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-06-07 09:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I had just turned 18 and, growing up in Tucson, I was going to board a bus to Wisconsin for a trip to volunteer right before the primary. Something came up and I couldn't make the trip. I remember going to bed late the night of that primary thinking that Mo had won - and then waking up the next morning to the news that he came in second.

Mo had a great sense of humor. The stories are legendary. Mo was in New Hampshire campaigning. He walked into a diner and introduced himself, saying, "Hi, I'm Mo Udall. I'm running for president." A guy at a table replied, "Yeah, we were just laughing about that." At another place a voter said, "Yeah, you're my second choice." Mo asked him who was his first choice. The voter replied, "Oh, any of the others."

by Michael Bersin 2007-06-08 02:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

For me, it is a waste of time to worry about which candidate I should support. In the end, I know I won't make much of a difference. Even my vote isn't really worth much let alone my time.

The money I give has gone to the netroots to actually build an outside the system infrastructure. I would not spend it on a national candidate or on the national party.

by alarabi7 2007-06-07 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

The lower tier candidates need all the support they can get, and that is the type of candidate I am currently supporting.

(His name is Bill Richardson.)

With a campaign like Richardson's, Biden's, or anyone else out of the Big 3 -- they need all the support they can get at this point in order to move into contention.

I have said, though; that if Mr. Richardson doesn't pick up soon on his debate performances, I am dropping my support for him.  And if that is the case, I'm not sure I would support anoter candidate firmly again unless, as I said above; its a lower candidate...  Especially since my state has a late primary (March), so my vote probably would not matter that much as it is -- so I wouldn't be donating volunteer time to a presidential race trying to make headway in Texas, but to a local race.

by Michael Hurta 2007-06-07 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Why are you so intent upon supporting a "lower candidate"? Is it for substantive reasons, or do you just want to be contrarian?

by DPW 2007-06-07 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Its for substantive reasons.  Specifically, Richardson is the only one I am confident can fix our problems abroad.  I like other things about him, too; but that point is the seller.

by Michael Hurta 2007-06-07 11:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Nice to see another BOR'er - Mike you coming over to the O camp, if Richerdson doesn't pull through?

by gb1437a 2007-06-07 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

It is very possible.  Obama is currently my #2, but Biden is moving up as is Edwards for me.  Even Clinton, a bit.

by Michael Hurta 2007-06-07 11:28PM | 0 recs
Barack Obama

It was this past December and I had no idea who in the race for president I liked.  As a student of politics and an avid consumer of news I knew about a lot of the candidates.  I knew that Hillary, Edwards, Richardson, Vilsack, and Kucinich were going to run.  I had a hunch that Obama was probably going run.  As a resident of Virginia I had been very excited about the prospect of a Mark Warner bid, but he had since withdrawn his name.

As I was getting ready for an 11 hour drive from Michigan to Virginia I was searching for listening materials.  I find that to stay attentive in such long drives I require books on tape as they keep my mind active.  My girlfriend, a big supporter of Barack Obama from the Chicago-land area, happened to have "Dreams from my Father" on CD.  I spent the greater part of my drive home listening to Barack narrate his life story to me.  As I was leaving the great state of Pennsylvania I completed his autobiography and heard his 2004 DNC speech once more.  Whenever I hear a particularly moving speech I get chills down my spine - let me tell you, it is weird driving through Maryland with constant chills down your spine.

Believe it or not I was still undecided.

I had the opportunity to attend the DNC Winter Meeting.  I briefly had the opportunity to meet Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel, and Bill Richardson as well as hear all of them speak.  Though Hillary Clinton always seems to make sense when you hear her speak she never feels entirely real.  John Edwards is a compelling candidate with a lot of great ideas, his campaign just gave the feel that he had been running for 5 years.  Bill Richardson, of all the second tier candidates, seemed like he was the only one who had a chance of breaking through.

Barack Obama was the candidate who felt the most authentic, when he is giving a speech you always have the distinct impression he is speaking to you alone, and though you don't want to stand and clap at the end of every line you hang onto every word.  It was at this point that I had to do one of the most difficult things, admit that my girlfriend was right and I had been to stubborn to see that.

Why do I support him?  Why am I going to canvass for him this Saturday and anytime the campaign asks me too?  It is very simple.

I want to win.

The last time a Democratic President was in office I was 12 years old.  George W. Bush inspired me to get involved in politics; I was in High School when I realized I could probably do a better job running the country that he was doing.  

In 2004 we nominated John Kerry because he was electable, the problem is we defined electable as experienced.  We need to reinvent how we define electable.  Electable doesn't mean that if you looked at the resumes of the two candidates which would you hire, electable means if you were swayed by passion and emotion for whom would you vote.  Barack Obama wins hands down in those measures.

For those who might think, "Clearly this young man is only driven by his heart in this choice!  He must learn to moderate his heart and his head!"  It is not so. Barack Obama has long been a supporter of Labor.  He has a history of not compromising on his Progressive ideals and instead getting bipartisan support of the Progressive agenda.  Barack Obama has the most liberal voting record of ANY of the individuals running to be the next President of these United States of America.

by Obama08 2007-06-07 06:51PM | 0 recs
Obama is the only candidate for me.

Matt asked why is my support or any of the other supporters efforts and loyalty necessary?

My belief is that with Obama in particular, it is necessary to have an active support base to promote his candidacy and that also applies to Hillary as well although to a much lesser degree.  Unfortunately, even with all things being equal among the candidates, Obama is still dealing with an extremely tough obstacle simply because he is of mix race.

I would argue that Obama could meet every criteria expected with flying colors (i.e. experience, specific policies, perfect debate skills) and still be scrutinized and not as accepted as the other white candidates.  I think Obama's obstacle in convincing the electorate is a much tougher sell than Hillary because at least she is still white.

I support Obama, not because he is black but because I have never felt quite as passionate about a politician that possesses the kind of talent Obama has.  I have seen enough from Obama to know that for me he is the right choice.  Obama has to convince the primary electorate and I intend to continue being an active supporter that will do everything necessary to help.

by lovingj 2007-06-07 06:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is the only candidate for me.

I think part of Obama's difficulty is living up to the hype. No other candidate is measured against such strong expectations. I agree that he is the best candidate, but many people love to resist hype. It's good that the race is so long, which will allow some time for expectations surrouding him to become to settle.

by DPW 2007-06-07 07:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

We are supporting every candidate we can to help push the Party in a progressive direction. We are willing to renegotiate our commitment as required to win control for Progressive candidates.

During the Bush reign of terror, my wife and I have given more money to Democratic candidates then we ever dreamed possible--for middle class professionals like us. We backed Dean, then Kerry, then in 2006, a number of progressive candidates from around the country. (Thanks MyDD) We are now backing Edwards to help him stay in the hunt. Obama is doing well with fundraising but we have made small contributions. We will even support Hillary if necessary after the primaries. Our donations are made to candidates that seem capable of pushing American politics back to the center or maybe even to the left.

Why are we doing this when common sense tells us to look out for our personal interests? For us political activism isn't all that much fun. We would rather go back to a time when we had faith that our democracy would always be there or at least salvageable. But after watching the Bush Administration and Republican Party try to destroy the fabric of American society we feel we have no choice other than to push as hard as we can to save America.

Like most Progressives we can't let the country go down the tubes without a fight--we love America. It's really that simple. It's our time to fight for our country in whatever way we can. If that doesn't work, Plan B is to move to a foreign country as paupers and star over again.

by anothergreenbus 2007-06-07 06:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I'll definitely support and vote for whoever is the Democratic party nominee.

I haven't hitched my wagon to any Democratic Party candidate for 2008. They're all good - and much better than the republican present and future choices.

In 2003 and 2004 I wrote a pile of letters for Howard Dean. And wrote a number of checks. After the  nomination was decided I spent every free moment volunteering for John Kerry.

I volunteered as a moderator on the "Forum for America" from December 2003 to March 2005. That out of the way place attracted a good number of enthusiasts and a fair number of trolls and other lost souls. I never liked the bashing of other Democratic candidates on the part of enthusiastic supporters (not the campaign itself) that sometimes appeared in that venue. I'm not too partial to it here, either - I have to remind myself that campaigns are not responsible for, nor can they control, the amateur enthusiasts they attract to their cause. saint ralph is another matter - he deserves everything I (continue to) dish out.

I'm no longer on my state committee. Since I won't have the opportunity (nor the intent) to run as a PLEO delegate in 2008 I really don't feel the need to make a choice about who I'm going to support in the nomination process. That could change, but for now, I don't see that happening.

I was enthusiastic about Russ Feingold. I actually tried to contact him (before he dropped out) to volunteer for his potential campaign. If Al Gore announces I'm in immediately. I was a Gore delegate in 2000. It'd be nice to right the wrong.

I like Hillary Clinton. I like Chris Dodd. I like John Edwards. I like Barack Obama. I like Bill Richardson.

I don't like republicans.    

by Michael Bersin 2007-06-07 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Why? Because my vote counts.

I will make a choice because my vote counts. I live in Iowa so I  have more influence than I should in deciding who will be nominated (I don't like that anymore than you do).

I have heard Dodd speak and was favorably impressed, but after hearing Edwards speak I was not convinced  he had the horsepower to get the nomination.

No doubt I will have a chance to hear Obama and some of the others.

HRC always makes me think of the scene in the first Star Wars movie when the princess led the star warriors into the trash compactor.

I have more than six months to decide who I will support so I am militantly uncommitted at this stage. I was called four times by polls and candidate reps. yesterday. At the moment my plan is to give all my money to the candidate who does not call me.

by JSN 2007-06-07 06:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I'm an Edwards guy, for the usual progressivism & electability reasons.  I especially love his positions on health care and global poverty.  

Backing him in 2008 is my major form of activism because it seems like the most direct way to make an impact on the issues I care about.

It's also really fun.  

by Neil the Ethical Werewolf 2007-06-07 06:56PM | 0 recs
I wish Feingold had run ...

I even told him to his face back in September.  Given that he isn't, I am having a hard time choosing between Edwards and Obama.  Neither of them are progressive enough for me.  Both of them will probably have to cater to corporate interests a little too much for my taste.  There is no way that I'd vote for Hillary in the primary under any circumstance.  Hiring people like Mark Penn and Carville show a complete lack of judgment(I won't even start on Iraq).  I want someone whose judgment I can trust(as much as one can trust any politician).  One thing I like about both Obama and Edwards are their wives.  They aren't afraid to stick their necks out there(for the better).

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-06-07 07:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Given that there are many ways of making change, including backing a local council race, a primary candidate for a Congressional seat, doing journalism, working on an issue, or any number of other ways of being involved, why the hurry to back one specific candidate for a Presidential contest that is extremely difficult to affect as just one person?

Well, supporting a presidential candidate can have a ripple effect that supports an issue by helping raise awareness of it, or helps mobilize people for down-ticket races. And doing journalism might be the way that one supports a presidential candidate and/or an issue and/or a candidate in another race.

I do think the question you're asking can be expanded to all of the things you mention, though. What kind of significant change isn't extremely difficult to create as just one person? Heck, by that logic, why go out and vote for a president or a senator or a mayor or a council person - one vote is not going to affect the race.

I think that most people who want to make a change feel like their individual efforts can be magnified by being leveraged with other people's efforts. So in that light, it kind of makes sense to get involved in a presidential campaign where the scope is large and the numbers of people involved are significant.

by Dave Thomer 2007-06-07 06:56PM | 0 recs
boadicea????

Why did you down rate at least 8-9 posters on this thread?

Matt - asked for our opinions - that shouldn't get a down rate.

And I don't see the first comment on the thread by you?  52 comments not one by you yet you down rate many.

You mis use the rate system.

by dk2 2007-06-07 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: boadicea????
boadicea's ratings have been wiped. That was totally uncool.
by Chris Bowers 2007-06-07 07:55PM | 0 recs
Re: boadicea????

Thank you Chris!

by dk2 2007-06-07 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I'm sending a little change to candidates that I think would be a good president.  Not sure who will break out of the pack but I'm enjoying the myriad of Dem candidates.

by Organic George 2007-06-07 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

    This issue here is the following; are we trying to merely get a majority, or build a movement. If you want a mojority, back Clinton or Obama. They have the star power to take back the white house for the Dems. If you want a movement though, then backing Edwards makes more sense, since he is the only one I have seen who is seriously running a New Deal, liberal class war campaign, which is what we need to win. The culture wars are worthless. We have sort of won them, and the only people coming to the polls for it is the other side. Class War is what will get our people to the polls, and listening to either Obama or Clinton, you wouldn't know that we weren't Republicans too.

by liberal2012 2007-06-07 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

But there is the question of a majority of what ... the popular vote or the electoral college vote?

I think for the electoral college vote, you have it backwards. I think Clinton is the most restricted in terms of where she can compete, and while she is likely to win in some "blue" states by the biggest majorities, that is cold comfort if she struggles in OH/KY and is unable to compete in VA/NC/MO.

In terms of electability, I would have ranked them Edwards / Obama / Richardson / Clinton, until I saw Richardson in action live, and unless he gets on track, I'd have to put him last in that criterion among the top tier plus one.

I think Edwards has an inside track on winning here in Ohio, just based on the message and framing which saw a radical right wing Republican get trounced in the Governor's race and an incumbent Senator give up his seat to a populist running from a sprawling East Ohio and Ohio River Valley Congressional seat.

I'm doing warehouse work as a summer job, and I'm blogging instead of doing a shift today because there are only two trucks delivering for the chain that is the final destination. If this slowdown in consumer spending continues, it will very definitely be about the economy in Ohio, again, and that very clearly puts Clinton in a deep hole from her strident support for bogus free trade agreements.

I think that Obama can force the Republicans to at the very least fight very hard for OH/KY, and at the same time he can crack the Republican inland West, which is why I put him second in terms of electability.

Of course, that is fairly idle musing, because I back a candidate in the primaries to back the positions they are pushing, and let others worry about electability.

by BruceMcF 2007-06-08 07:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Obama is only polling in the 30s in some national and general election matchups. He would have a much more uphill fight than Clinton or Edwards. I would rank electability like this.

1. Clinton

  1. Edwards
  2. Richardson
  3. Dodd
  4. Obama

by robliberal 2007-06-08 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Well, RL, as you know I think that excessively heavy reliance on extremely early polls, especially extremely early national polls, is mostly tea leaf reading.

And national polls are especially tricky, because they do not (and by the MOE they would have within individual states, can not) distinguish between a winning and a losing electoral college map.

by BruceMcF 2007-06-08 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I actively support the primary candidate that I think is most likely to win the general election.

by domma 2007-06-07 07:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I support Barack Obama for president. When I see him, I see my brothers. Both of them are of mixed ancestry and like him, they went through trials and tribulations with drugs, peer pressure, identity issues, and they overcame them.

Also, I dig the fact that he was a Community Organizer in Chicago. Senator Obama, more than any other candidate can best relate to poor people of color due to his experiences. He has actual street cred! When he speaks, especially in front of black audiences that usually do not want to be told of its faults, people listen and cheer him on! What other candidate can talk about my cousin Pookie? Not one!

The main reason why I support him is because as a country we have the capacity to finally do something big and courageous, to go against the norm and to not elect another WASP. That's a big statement and a testimony to how far we have come as a nation. Many folks do not agree with that statement but it's my truth.

Today, I can finally tell my children that they do have a chance to be president one day just like the man with the funny name, Barack Obama!

by shanay4363 2007-06-07 07:14PM | 0 recs
Effectiveness

My wife and I both maxed out to Obama last quarter.  We weren't 100% sure that he was the best candidate (and at the moment I'm having second thoughts and might ultimately go with Edwards), but with the intense media focus on the candidates and how much $ they raise as a threshold of viability it made sense to give money when we were 90% certain, rather than wait until we were 100.0% certain and have the money we give be half as effective.

Look at how much press Obama got when he outraised Hillary.  Had that not happened, it's entirely possible that the media would treat this whole race as a Clinton coronation.  In the eyes of the media, him outraising Hillary made the Dem. nomination contest and genuine, and interesting, race.

by Go Vegetarian 2007-06-07 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Effectiveness

As much as I am not an adherent of Obamamania, your post makes sense.  I gave to HRC and Edwards (I am dating both for now) for the same reasons.

by jgarcia 2007-06-07 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

personally i think this active and early a campaign cycle is extremely unhealthy for our country.

unfortunately, until SCOTUS decides to overturn the decision of Buckley v. Valeo, our nation will continue to have the 'permanent campaign'.

by padraig26 2007-06-07 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

In 1990, at the age of 51, I lost my job for the first time in my life.  I wasn't alone - our entire department was let go to be recreated with only 1/3 the people.  We were let go during a technology change, so that none of us were adequately trained for new jobs.  The younger employees managed to get jobs, although not as quickly as might be expected.  Those of us in our fifties were lost causes.

When Bill Clinton ran for President and started talking free trade, I had an uneasy feeling. Learning that he was associated with an organization called the Democratic Leadership Council, I wrote a letter to them expressing my misgivings.  The response I got back was not what I expected from a Democratic organization.

While Clinton's intelligence and competence blunted the downside of his political views, it was very clear to me that he was not a progressive.  Hillary Clinton is not a progressive, either.

Edwards is the only person on the Democratic primary slate that takes positions that seem healthy for our society and the only person that I think will follow through on his commitment.  And he's the only person with those view who can be elected.

If we cannot nominate Edwards and bring in a whole slew of new faces in the Senate and House of Representatives, then I think it is time for a new party.  I know that's not what people want to hear,  but from the nonsense that has gone on post 2006 election, it is clear that the insiders in Washington care not a whit about what the people who actually vote for them want.

It's true that a party that is created on one issue cannot make it over the long haul, but this time a third party would not be on one issue but on an entire ideology.  If we don't let the insiders know that we are not going to be their patsies anymore, nothing will ever change.

by workingclassanna 2007-06-07 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I don't necessarily support someone with the best ideological match. However, certain actions/viewpoints are non negotiable based on a certain time period. Right now, the Iraq war is such a huge issue that I cannot ignore it. For that reason alone, Hillary gets booted out of consideration. I like Obama's approach to education more than Edwards. I suspect that if I sat down with both, I will find myself agreeing with Obama on more issues. So it should be a clear choice between Edwards and Obama for me, right? No. Leadership is also important. I want to see Obama make some tough decisions and be a little more vocal in non niche gatherings. I want to see him exhort not just leftists to change their thinking, but directly try to persuade his peers in D.C. to do so too.

Charisma is important because a person with little charisma is not going to be able to sell his or her agenda very well to the public. It is not just the candidates viewpoints that are important, but the ability to get the majority of the country to go along with them. Lyndon B Johnson was no progressive, but he did a damn good job getting civil rights legislation done.

Right now, I am for Gore or Clark. Sadly, Clark seems like a totally dead prospect.

So I may have to choose between Edwards and Obama.
We will see. I would like to honor the primary process and give most of the candidates the time to change my mind.

by Pravin 2007-06-07 08:06PM | 0 recs
what do you like about Obama's education policy?

I'm curious--I met someone a few weeks ago who went to an Obama town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids a while back. His wife is a teacher. Obama was asked about No Child Left Behind, and he said this is an unfunded mandate that we need to fully fund.

The guy I met said Obama lost his wife's vote right then. A few weeks later, they went to a Biden event in Cedar Rapids. Biden's answer to the education was much more thoughtful and explained why NCLB was a completely wrongheaded approach.

The guy's wife is still undecided and may not go for Biden either, but she is considering him.

by desmoinesdem 2007-06-07 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: what do you like about Obama's education

I'm guessing it is the testing problem that turned her off.  I believe he wants to keep the vehicle of No Child Left Behind, and do away with a lot of the testing for more direct funding...but, he probably didn't say that...

He probably just said "no child left behind is an unfunded mandate" without going into his stance.

by gb1437a 2007-06-07 08:38PM | 0 recs
Most Iowans think it's too early

I hear so many people tell me it's too early for them to decide on a candidate. On principle many are not making a decision until the fall.

I expected to wait a little longer to decide, but I saw several of the candidates last year, and the more I watched them the more I was drawn to support Edwards. He is miles ahead of where he was during the last primary campaign. For a while I was holding out for Gore, but at this point I am firmly for Edwards.

As an Iowan, I feel it's important for me to get involved. Contrary to what some people think, Iowans do not just do whatever "the establishment" tells them to do.

We are the only thing standing in the way of a Hillary coronation right now. Look at "good progressives" like the mayor of LA--getting assimilated by the Clinton borg without a peep. If Iowans do not get involved in supporting other candidates, we will be saddled with the worst candidate we could possibly nominate.

by desmoinesdem 2007-06-07 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

That's a very good question. And I'm not backing a candidate at this point.

I'm not too excited about any of the announced candidates right now.

Getting involved at this point in the game, unless I'm helping raise money for someone I really like, isn't likely to do much anyway. Although, I do have friends who ask me who I'm backing, all the time. A good chunk of them (the one's I know who don't work in politics) will take my advice very seriously. But it's still very early.

If Gore jumped in I think I'd do a lot to help him. I've got other things to worry about right now anyway. We've got our first statewide caucus in just a few months.

phat

by phatass 2007-06-07 08:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I am more concerned with issues than candidates.  I think we often obsess over what candidates will do in hypothetical situations rather than what they have already demonstrated a commitment to.  Pick two really important issues that reflect basic philosophical differences, learn everything you can about those issues, and find the candidate that you agree with on those issues.  General philosophy on the role of government, markets, and social forces is way more important than messaging and candidate image.  And eventually that philosophy become apparent to everyone anyway.    

by Dan Owens 2007-06-07 08:25PM | 0 recs
Hillary

I'm backing a Presidential candidate because of the GOP.  And I'm backing Hillary.  

Why?  Because she's a master strategist - she's the best I have ever seen, in either party, and I include her husband Bill Clinton and "the architect Rove".   It doesn't much matter what a candidate's policy positions are, if he can't win.  I've been watching Hillary for many years - been watching all of them actually, although Obama is new so it's harder to get a read on him.  

We need to get rid of the goddamned GOP, no matter what.  We have no choice.  We watched Al Gore and John Kerry miss their chances.  As a nation and as a country we have suffered as a result, under Bush.  Imagine 8 more years of Republican rule.  If you want to see Iran wiped off the map, and I know none of you do, Rudy will waste no time getting the job done.  

We don't get the Whitehouse back by running another weak candidate. There's a woman of about 130 pounds who generates more fear among powerful men than anyone else on earth.  She'll be a strong President, especially when it comes to cleaning up Bush's messes, and she has a commitment to women, children and families - her record proves it.  She doesn't have to be the first to get a white paper on healthcare reform on the table.  She's the veteran on healthcare reform; and she's confident as hell.  

I don't give a flying fart that Carville is on her side or that Penn has questionable affiliations.  We need to exterminate Republican rule once and for all, for the good of mankind.
It isn't time for a fresh new face (Obama) and given Edwards' inability to put together an effective campaign, he isn't going to be the nominee anyway.  

As I said, I am backing a Presidential candidate because it's time for the Republican Regime to end and I'm backing the only candidate I believe can end it. Hillary.  To this end, I blog about her and do my best to clear up the misperceptions about her, not to mention the lies.  I send her money and get others to do the same, and in July I'm heading to Iowa to canvass for her.

by samueldem 2007-06-07 08:36PM | 0 recs
Agree

I think a Hillary presidency would be the ultimate defeat of the vast right wing consipiracy. I can't wait until that day.

by PhillyGuy 2007-06-07 08:50PM | 0 recs
she kills us down ticket

our candidates for statewide offices and state legislatures are going to suffer if she is at the top of the ticket.

And if by some miracle she wins the general election, our House and Senate majorities will be at risk in 2010 and 2012. Why do you think the GOP is smearing Obama and Edwards while not laying a glove on Hillary lately? They are praying that we nominate her. I remember the 1990s.

Democrats lost their majorities in the Iowa state legislature as well as in the Congress, and rural voters turned decisively against the Democratic Party. Thanks a lot, Clintons!

But good for you for coming to Iowa to get involved in her campaign.

by desmoinesdem 2007-06-07 09:27PM | 0 recs
Re: she kills us down ticket

Yeah, the MSN have already annointed Hillary for that reason.

by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 09:53PM | 0 recs
Re: she kills us down ticket

Agreed.

Nominate her and the war machine gets all kicked up again, and they bury our downballot candidates.

Especially down here.

We may be running a woman for Governor here in NC.  You think she wants to be morphed into Hillary Clinton 1000 times a day on TV?

If you want to step on their necks and beat them into oblivion this year, the last thing you want to do is nominate the ONE person on our side of the aisle that would generate enthusiasm for their candidate.  

Hillary should stay in the Senate and become majority leader and accomplish far more over a long career than she will be able to accomplish in 4 or 8 years as President with half the country hating her guts.

by DrFrankLives 2007-06-08 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: she kills us down ticket

I fear you're a bit blinded by preference. The right tries to attack Hillary just as much as any other candidate, just last week 2 books debuted that can only be descibed as hit jobs. She got digs from the Republican candidates, just like Edwards and Obama

You don't notice it as much as you notice the attacks  on Edwards and Obama because people have always attacked her, So she has the most experience parrying those attack and people have learned to tune them out anyway.

Your comment disproves itself. She has been attacked just as much as anybody else but people don't care about Clinton bashing anymore.

Having Obama and Edwards smeared whould cause a reaction amongst the people. That could hurt candidates for statewide offices and state legislatures a lot more.

by Ernst 2007-06-08 07:26AM | 0 recs
That would be my reason for not ...

... backing Hillary if I picked candidates based on electability. She may be a master strategist, but she starts out from a position of being boxed in. Unless conditions are so bad for the Republicans that almost any Democrat could win, she has the toughest electoral college map of the top tier.

by BruceMcF 2007-06-08 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I'm for Obama because I connect with him and his way of thinking. I also like his community organizer's way of approaching change by focusing on building consensus and support from comstituents, rather than focusing on policy and programs.

by howieinseattle 2007-06-07 08:53PM | 0 recs
Bar Fight

I think it might have been Jerome, and I don't know how to link to the old thread, but one of the front pagers created a long entry about the 'Bar Fight Primary'.

That is why I have decided to support Edwards, to me, he is the only one of the 3 that has stood up, first, and fought. He has fought Faux, he has fought on Iraq, he is a champion of working class people.

More to the point, if I thought that Hillary was more a leader/fighter, I would have no problem supporting her, it is not the issues, they are all 'close eanough' for me without Gore in the race that any of them are ok.

Flat out, I want to win, and I want to win HUGE. This needs to be un-stealable, and it would be nice for there to be some serious coat-tails.

by benjamink 2007-06-07 08:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Gore if he runs, Obama if not. Both because I think that they'd be both the best candidate and president, of those who are running or might run. All the other have, in my mind, some combination of electability, policy and leadership issues that make me back these two. I will, of course, vote for whichever Dem does win.

Yes, even Hillary. Anyone who thinks that any of the Repubs would be a better president is just nuts. Maybe, just maybe, Bloomberg/Hagel might be more acceptable than Hillary, but I'd have to give them a very close look before voting for such a ticket.

Of course, my DREAM ticket is Gore/Obama, but whose isn't?

And as an aside, and forgetting about who they are as people and politicians, isn't it amazing that this is the first election in US history in which a woman, black, hispanic, Jew, and even Mormon have a chance at becoming president?

I.e. our next president is less likely to be a WASP male than it ever's been in our history. One of the few potentially positive legacies of the Bush years, perhaps?

Of course, if the GOP can find a pro-war, low taxes conservative black Latina Jewish lesbian veteran who's married to an Asian Mormon, we'd be in trouble...

by kovie 2007-06-07 09:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I agree with much of your sentiment, but why Bloomberg? He actively supports Lieberman. That would be a no go for me right there. I've been here in NYC for 10 yrs now and I have to say I did not have any major objections to Bloomberg (except for the crazy cigarette taxes, which is basically a tax on the poor. I don't mind the smoking ban mind you).... until he came out for Lieberman.

by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 09:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I left NYC and moved west several months after he first became mayor, so I haven't followed him closely all these years (alas, I did live in NYC during the Rudy years, and although I voted for him twice--the only time I've crossed the aisle to vote for a big-ticket Repub--I largely tuned him out during his second term).

Obviously, his support for Lieberman is a mark against him, but Hillary wasn't all that different during the election in her implicit support for Joe and very weak support for Lamont. So I really don't see much of a difference on that score.

On other issues, though, I'd have to give Bloomberg the edge over Hillary, although clearly I'd need to take a closer look before deciding whom to support.

In the end I'll probably vote for the Dem no matter who it is, but I really really really don't want it to be Hillary. She really scares me. Perhaps the prospect of a Romney-Bloomberg-Hillary choice is what will finally compel Gore to run?

by kovie 2007-06-08 02:36PM | 0 recs
Why didn't Feingold run?
Or Mark Warner?  I've been a fan of the Senator for years; Warner would have been a very strong contender.  I wouldn't be pining for Gore quite so much if I could vote for Russ.
For now I'm supporting Edwards, but I'm not a Johniac.  I haven't been swept up in a movement, like I was at this time in 2003.
As many commenters have said, any of the leading contenders will get my vote in the general election, but I really don't like "triangulation." Hillary's a descendent of it, Barack has embraced it.  
As an Illinois resident, I'm most disappointed in Barack. He won our primary by being the most passionately and historically progressive.  We thought we had elected a Wellstone, not a Clinton.
by ChgoSteve 2007-06-07 09:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Why didn't Feingold run?

Wow, that is an awesome comment, 'We thought we had elected a Wellstone, not a Clinton'

Would that it were true.

by benjamink 2007-06-07 09:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Good question but I'm not sure I could boil my support down to any one reason.
I mean, I like Obama but I don't think he has the best chance to win.
I don't like Hillary but I think she has a slightly better chance than Obama... being white and more "experienced" (yeah, yeah, I know first lady does not count but many might not know that.)

And then, on the other hand, if by some bizarre twist of fate it were Ron Paul on the other side I would have to give him a serious look.... just for the radical change quality of it.

It's still way too early for me. The only thing I know at this point is I won't be voting repuglican. In this sense, it is easy to wait and see. However, if in the end I feel my vote is taken for granted maybe I won't give it. Because the more I learn about any of the these folks the less I like them, on either side.

I just found out that Edwards, Obama and Clinton were buddying up with Jim Wallis. I have understanding for their "need" to do so but, that makes it no less distasteful to me.

Now, if Gore were to run I would probably throw him my wholehearted support; not because of climate change (I'm not sure he is %100 correct there) and not because I agree with him on everything (I disagree with many of the positions he held in the first race) BUT because he fucking won and was robbed and, giving him the presidency would be a huge "take back" for the country. It would show the world that we Americans actually do have some sort of memory and sense of justice, But mostly that we seriously regret letting the G.W.B./neocon coup occur. In some ways to me that is more important than the first female president or the first black president. Aside from that, I actually like the guy.

by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 09:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?
Oh, I forgot to say I prefer Patrick Leheay to any of them,
MAYBE even Gore. I suppose my dream ticket would be Gore/Leheay.
But even then, again, it is two white men and the idea of a woman or a  black man is very appealing to me for so many reasons, especially what it would do the O'Really faction of the Rethuglican base. I mean president Hilary and VP Obama might just do them in from self hate or something. They might just implode and that would be worth it.
by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Gore/Clinton would be a huge afront to the Rethugs as well. Does anyone think she would settle for VP. I sort of think she just might.

by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 09:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

A Gore/Clinton ticket would be marvelous. (a Clinton/Gore would be perfect for me, but could face the unjust "dynasty" smear)

But I don't think anybody would want her (or Gore). It would be like having two captains on one ship. You don't want to be upstaged by the second in command.

by Ernst 2007-06-08 07:31AM | 0 recs
2008 Field

I was active in the draft Clark movement in 2003 and the presidential campaign in 2003-2004. After that I was active in the Kerry Edwards campaign (my bio on my political blog has more about campaigns I have been involved in over the years.) I have not endorsed or become officially involved with any candidate for 2008. I have given contributions to Clinton, Obama, and Edwards so far.

During 2003 - 2004 most of the netroots supported Dean with a smaller number supporting Clark. There were a lot of anti-Kerry, anti-Edwards, etc. diaries and the eventual ticket did not have a lot of support in the blogosphere.

I like things about all of the candidates who are in the Democratic field. I think Hillary Clinton is the most progressive of the top tier. Clinton would enter the White House with over three decades of experience and would pick the best and brightest talent she could find and I think her administration would be a very successful one. I have no doubts about her liberal and progressive credentials she has a resume that goes back some 35 years.  

I think Obama will be a rising star in the Democratic Party but I think a member of Congress who was sworn into office in 2005 and started running for president in 2006 just does not have enough experience to withstand the GOP Swift Boating that will take place. I also have some difficulty with his bipartisan, concillatory approach to issues. I think we need a real fighter against the GOP in 2008 and beyond.

I like John Edwards and know a number of trial lawyers who are supporting him. I think if Obama had not entered the race Edwards would receive a lot of support for 2008 and would be a competitive candidate. I think because of the unique race we have for 2008 with Clinton and Obama dominating the fundraising and polls that just does not leave Edwards with a very good shot. At this point his campaign is almost solely based on a win in Iowa where he has been campaigning officially and unofficially since 2001 and that makes it a longshot.

I think Chris Dodd is a very attractive candidate who is one of the most progressive in the second tier. He has strong stands on a number of progressive issues. I also like the experience that Bill Richardson has but I have been disappointed with his appearances so far. I also like to hear Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, and Joe Biden and they each have some good ideas and a good perspective as well.

What I am most interested in is to have a ticket that can win in 2008. At this point I think Clinton has the amount of experience that is necessary to be a good president and would be the strongest candidate. 2008 will be one of the roughest and dirtiest campaigns in American history because the Republicans know they are up against the wall and the odds are against them. Of all of the candidates I think Clinton has the best shot to win in the general election.

by robliberal 2007-06-07 09:41PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Field

The fact that the Rethugs are up against the wall makes me shy away from Obama. Somehow I think is open the savery because of his "lack of experience". I think many "unconscious rascists" are just waiting for a reason to disregard him.

by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 09:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?
Reasons to support a candidate now:
  1. Support is always provisional; there is no such thing as 100% certain ever, so might as well say where I lean at any one moment in time.
  2. People ask me. I am an "influential" so to speak.
  3. It is not too early to give money or volunteer for a candidate and would be foolish to do so randomly.
  4. My criticisms of the GOP candidates are MUCH more persuasive to the people I speak to when I can respond to the inevitable, "Well, who is a good candidate then?"
  5. Since part of my work involves close scrutiny of all of the candidates of both parties, it becomes humanly impossible not to at least come to tentative judgments about which are good, better, best.
by demondeac 2007-06-07 09:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I think it's strange that the overwhelming majority of comments here are about why someone should support X, Y, or Z candidate.  That's a perfectly good debate to have, and I thought many of the comments (for a variety of candidates) were insightful.

But that wasn't the question asked.  The question is why support ANY candidate at this point?  I realize that some of the "I truly believe this person speaks to me and for me in an important way" answers that to some extent, but I do think there's something broader here.  It's not "who do you like the most?" - it's "of what significance is making the choice to become a supporter of that candidate?"

One of the most perplexing thing about this place (and the "netroots" in general) is whether simply posting, writing, and talking is political activism, or whether it's a springboard for something else.  Of course, there's no clear-cut answer.  It's some of both.  But still, how many of the people who have chosen a candidate have done something other than write about it and given a few bucks?  I haven't, as much as I feel like I should have.  

The weird thing for me is that for the first time in my life, I'm in a state where the primary matters (New Hampshire), and I'm feeling more politically inclined than ever.  But the main thing to do would be to work for a campaign and while that is meaningful, I still have a hard time believing that it's that important for me to devote tremendous time, money, and energy fighting a battle for a year to win a primary against other Democrats.  I like Obama (quite a lot, actually) but I would be ecstatic with any Democrat winning, so shouldn't I be thinking more about how to make that happen?

Beyond that, New Hampshire just turned blue on a local level for the first time in a century.  And we've got Sprinting Sununu to take care of.  Can I really justify devoting my energy to a huge primary fight when there are countless elections against Republicans going on?

I don't know.  

by Baldrick 2007-06-07 11:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?
Further, it was why support that candidate at this time (so early on). I think that question was just a bit boring, so I went with who do I like most at this time, as most did. That is what I like about these forums... like over at Kos they have had polls asking who won the republican debates. And despite the caveat that one is supposed to consider who won the debate from a typical republican point of view, Ron Paul wins every time. People just want to participate whatever the question might be, and I like that.
Speaking of which, is Paul "doing anything" in NH? I'm not a big fan of his or anything (only I do find it interesting the amount of cross-party support he garners), but I thought he might play well in NH with all the libertarians up that way.
by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 11:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?
Oh, and no I have done nothing yet. I'm broke at the moment and two, like you, I don't see the point in fighting other Dem's, at least not yet. Besides, in NYC I don't feel as though my efforts matter too much... I reckon Hillary has it sewn-up here.
I almost said "saw it off, Baldrick" then it occured to me that might actually be your name.
by mwenmenm 2007-06-07 11:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Ha.  No, definitely not my real name.  I'm just a fan of his work.

It's "sod off" BTW.

Ron Paul hasn't gotten any traction as far as I can tell in NH, but I'm in a district that voted about 80% Democratic in the midterms, so I don't really think I would talk to the folks who might like Paul.

I do think the libertarian impulses of New Hampshire are overstated.  They certainly are less excited about regulations, taxes, etc. than other places, but I think that's mostly about local politics.  I'm not sure it reflects itself in choosing presidential candidates very much.

by Baldrick 2007-06-08 07:30AM | 0 recs
not yet for me

I'm not backing a presidential candidate in 2008, as you pointed out there are many more productive things to do than participate in the catfight between the great candidates we have this cycle.  I skip most fp post about candidates as they tend to have a low s/n ratio.

by aip 2007-06-07 11:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I'm currently not backing a candidate in the sense that I am expending a lot energy to support one, but I am tempted to back one (Obama) and here's why: I want to be able proud of my country again.  Obviously, any of the democrats will be leagues better than Bush, but a lot of candidate seems unlikely to inspire much pride in me or anyone else.  I want a candidate so good that even my Republican friends will feel a little joy in thinking about their president.

It is hard for me to justify why I should spend time supporting a candidate rather than working for some other cause where my efforts are much more likely to make a difference.  For the most part if do back a candidate it will because I enjoy doing it rather than because I think that it is the right thing to do for the world.  But I usually just muse about doing something politically active and don't end up doing anything at all so... if I do get involved at least there would be that.

by geothenes 2007-06-07 11:48PM | 0 recs
The future depends on a united people,

not a divided nation. Gore has the unique potential to unite us. Ergo, Gore for President!

Gore/Obama would be the perfect ticket.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-06-08 01:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Holding out for Clark or Gore.

If neither jump in, will just sit out the Primaries and vote for whoever the Dems in their ultimate wisdom (/snark) nominate.

Cannot bring myself to vote for anyone who voted for this damn war. There will be a NS crisis in the first year of the next President's term and Hillary and Edwards have already demonstrated their bad judgment....Hillary because she believed in it (so much so she voted against the Levin amendment) and Edwards because it was just a political vote for him which I find disgusting when lives are at stake. The fact that he had a change of heart long after everything turned to shit, does not impress me.

Clark and Gore got it right.  As did Obama....but his lack of leadership in the Senate and his willingness to go along to get along....not to mention his constant preaching, drives me nuts.

Richardson supported the war and the MCA and couldn't bring himself to go against Abu Gonzalez because he was a fellow Hispanic....WTF?

So.....am left hoping Clark or Gore.

by pelican 2007-06-08 03:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Interesting how quickly this devolved into "why I am backing Candidate X".  I dont't think that was what Matt intended at all - his question was similar to "given that your vote realistically does not affect the final outcome, why do you vote?".  

Same thing here:  people volunteer, or give up paid jobs to take poorly-paid remote staff jobs, canvass, hold house parties, stand in the rain with signs, donate lots of money - all on behalf of an candidate who does not and never will know who they are or recognize or reward them in any way.  

Last year for the first (and probably only) time in my life I donated enough money to a major candidate to be put on the "semi-big-wheel" list.  I did get a reward for that:  an invitation to a victory cocktail party where I was able to speak directly to the officeholder-elect.  Had I so desired I could have bent his ear.  For 45 seconds or so.  That's it.  And people who just volunteer their time, rather than give cash, get even less in return.  Yet they throw their hearts and souls into the process.

So the question remains:  why?  Personally I think it has something to do with the way humans are primed to seek a single tribal leader and semi-deify this person, but my thoughts on this are not well-formed or complete.  There is clearly something bizarre about it though.

sPh

by sphealey 2007-06-08 04:20AM | 0 recs
There's a bit of that ... but its more the ...

... preference we have for the kind of community that we want to live in ... and a little bit of being raised right.

By that I mean, if everyone acts selfishly, everyone is worse off, but if you get together with a group of people acting in the community interest, together you can make everyone better off.

I think that banding together in a group is the key thing in breaking through the "my own individual effort does not matter to the cause" ... because your own individual effort does matter to that group's activity, and then a coalition of groups can cooperate to have a bigger impact, and so on up the grass roots pyramid.

And banding together in a group is very definitely something that is inside us, but it needs a bit of cultivating when we are growing up to really make it bloom.

by BruceMcF 2007-06-08 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I almost always support the underdog (but not the dark horse).  I am also one of those dems that can always be counted on to vote a straight ticket come November.

by aiko 2007-06-08 04:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Why you think that choosing now, this early, is useful for your political goals, whatever they may be

I choose my candidate while watching the 2006 races, long before he declared ... and since I was still in Australia at the start of the year, primarily watching the 2006 races over the internet by necessity ... but my main focus in 2006 was pollwatching.

I had supported him in 2004, more as a second best option since Gore was not running. Based on what I saw in 2006, I thought he was going to lift the ambition of his policies to meet the ambition of his rhetoric, and I have not been dissappointed.

But I did not set out to choose a candidate and then pick him from the field. If I did not have a candidate going in, I would still be undecided at this point.

by BruceMcF 2007-06-08 05:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

Reading al the results I think it is

because we care about america

And that anwser makes me feel good.

by Ernst 2007-06-08 07:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

For me the calculus is straight-forward. Even if my candidate isn't nominated, for once I'm not going to feel as though I've let my party simply hand me a candidate to work for. I'll have had a say in the process and done what I could to make sure my candidate isn't shut out prematurely. If, in the end, he's not nominated, it won't be because I didn't try to influence that decision.

None of which means that I can't change my mind at some point in the campaign. Getting involved early doesn't shut off my options as the campaign unfolds.

by tdgoldsmith 2007-06-08 08:16AM | 0 recs
Trying to stay on topic.

I will tell you that I had every intention of sticking to state races this year.  Trying to help progressives win some seats where Republicans normally run unopposed.  But, something happened along the way.  I started hearing John Edwards speak about Universal Health Care and that is my #1 issue.  He was just SAYING it, at a time when you weren't supposed to, it was the "Third Rail".  But, he was not only saying it, he was saying he was going to stand up and smack down anyone who got in the way.  

Then, he said he wasn't listening to pollsters and D.C. operatives.  The story came out about the "I was wrong" OpEd, how the operatives all wanted him to drop it, and he wouldn't.

Then, he based his campaign here in Chapel Hill, within walking distance of my house.

by Robert P 2007-06-08 09:01AM | 0 recs
Well, I live in Iowa

For me, picking a candidate early and working hard for my candidate this year makes sense, because my efforts really do have some effect on the outcome.

I picked Edwards - I like his issues, his policy suggestions, and I like him and his wife.  (He was my second choice last go-round, I caucused for Howard Dean in 2004.)

And yes, because it's fun.  

by RunawayRose 2007-06-08 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a Presidential Candidate in 2008?

I am really inspired by my candidate.  At the same time I am really depressed about the state the country is currently in, and I blame the President for a good portion of that.  When Bush first got elected, I said to myself "How much trouble can he really do, It's not the end of the world.  But, every day I am more and more shocked by how much trouble he has gotten us into and it scares me that we could carry on his policies through a Rudy or McCain and go further down this dark road.  

I also think that I can have an impact.  Maybe not a huge one, but the impact of the netroots on the 2006 elections have certainly given me a lot of hope about what role an activist can play in an election.  I know that I have already gotten a few other people on board, and that's the way it works.  I want the country to be a better place, and I truly believe that backing my candidate will help towards that.

by jbsloan 2007-06-08 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Back a

As up lately I've been feeling like the only two candidates that make any sense are Kucinnich on the Democratic side, and Ron Paul on the Republican side.  None of the other candidates (obama included) seem to be speaking to me. Perhaps it may be time to start looking for places outside the U.S.

by AnthonyMason2k6 2007-06-08 11:54AM | 0 recs

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