Friday :: Feb 29, 2008

The Movement Candidate


by eriposte

Lynn Sweet:

Obama, on campaign plane says he does not read blogs

That's not exactly surprising. In contrast, one of the things that I respect immensely about Sen. Clinton is that she gets it - she really understands what it takes to build the progressive movement even if she does not necessarily agree with the movement on everything. She not only reads blogs regularly, but her experiences at the hands of the GOP led her to support entities like the Center for American Progress and Media Matters, not to mention mount a strong defense of free speech at blogs like Daily Kos (anti-Clinton central during this primary) and conferences like Yearly Kos on Bill O'Reilly's show. Incidentally, she just blogged yesterday at The Huffington Post: "Child Poverty".

Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest (over a week ago, emphasis mine):

Before the California primary I was at a house party put on by supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton. (I have also attended Obama events - no hate mail, please). Clinton advisor Ann Lewis phoned in to talk about some of the issues. (Ambassador Joe Wilson also called.) At one point one of the guests asked Lewis whether progressive challenges in primaries is the best way get more progressives elected to the Congress.

Lewis gave a response that I feel should be repeated. It shows that the Clinton team has an understanding of the need to build a progressive movement outside of the electoral process if we want the country to make the changes that we progressives feel are necessary. (I am not saying that the Obama team does not have a similar understanding - no hate mail, please.)

Here is Ann Lewis’ statement about how Sen. Clinton thinks we can increase our chances of electing progressives into office in Congress.

"Hillary believes that the most effective way to elect progressive Democrats to office – and thus enact progressive policies – is by building and maintaining a progressive infrastructure, including institutions, organizations and blogs."

At the YearlyKos Presidential Candidate Forum, Sen. Clinton gave an answer to a question that also showed an understanding of the need for non-party infrastructure, and that answer stuck with me. She said something to the effect of the reason things will be different under a Hillary Clinton presidency is that "This time, we'll have YOU," meaning that the Netroots will be there to watch her back, and to keep Democrats honest. (Obama also was at this forum, no hate mail please.)

Continued below the fold...

If we really want long-term, structural changes in the way the public votes, the way to do this is to reach them outside of the electoral process. We need to help them understand what progressive values are - why democracy is important ad community benefits them, and conservative "you're on your own" policies do not. This effort leverages the electoral effort by "preparing the ground" and helping the public understand what progressive candidates are trying to achieve. This way ALL progressive candidates benefit from the SAME contribution. Each $1000 given to a progressive infrastructure organization accompishes more than $1000 given to EACH candidate at every level during the election.

If we can fund organizations like the Commonweal Institute and Speak Out California, which will then work to reach the public and help restore public understanding and appreciation of progressive values and ideas, then we will start to create demand for progressive candidates and policies.

I find it interesting that the candidate who explicitly supports progressive blogs (and the online progressive movement) is the one who has received the worst treatment from them during this campaign (including from those who were ready to let the longtime GOP fraudster Matt Drudge rule their world), whereas the candidate who has been more distant from progressive blogs (for a long time) is the one getting the most support from them. Welcome to the "progressive movement"! (Also see: "Who Represents the Progressive Movement?")

What I am impressed by is that there is a large, somewhat silent group of online supporters who came to Clinton's aid in the last month, even as Obama continued to rack up more impressive fundraising numbers :

In a remarkable financial recovery, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton raised $35 million in February even as Democratic rival Barack Obama was outspending her in key March 4 battlegrounds.

[...]

In their call to fundraisers, Clinton's advisers announced that the campaign had raised the money from 300,000 donors, including 200,000 new contributors, most of them donating through the Internet. Aides said almost all the money was for the primary election.

Is it too late? Perhaps. At one level, I would have liked to see the primary over, but I am glad that Sen. Clinton is still in the race and that it ain't over yet.

eriposte :: 6:31 AM :: Comments (46) :: Digg It!