What do we, as progressives, do in 2008 if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama are our party's nominee? Do we meekly fall into line and toil in the hopes of an end to the GOP occupation of the White House? Do we work against our Party? Or, do we instead focus on Congressional races, leaving the race for the White House to be run by the typical DC insiders?
I would suggest that the latter is our best option. We ought not waste our precious resources electing a person who embodies the worst of our Party. Hillary Clinton is no progressive. If you weren't sure of that before, just look at her recent fundraiser targeted to homeland security contractors. These folks not only got access to Senator Clinton, but to other members of Congress who sit on committees that determine homeland security policy. Now, when Bush and Cheney do that we call it selling policy to the highest bidder. It is no different in this instance. Team Clinton has vacuumed up bundles of campaign cash from corporate special interests and their lobbyists. It is the classic case of insideritis. And it is beyond naive to believe that Hillary will clean up DC.
Although Barack Obama sometimes talks like a progressive, he suffers from the same disease that many Democrats contract once they spend time in Washington- lackus backbonicus. At times Obama comes across as bold and decisive, but more often he seems timid and unsure of himself. It should come as no surprise that his advisers consist of the typical DC Dems. It is hard to be bold when you're counseled by Tom Daschle.
Luckily, we have an alternative (assuming my own choice, John Edwards, does not win the nomination) and that is to use our power to elect more progressive Democrats to Congress. This means supporting progressive challengers to Democratic incumbents, as well as against Republican incumbents. We have the ability to defeat Bush Dog Democrats and Republicritters. A more progressive Congress is the only bulwark against both a triangulating, corporate Democratic administration and a Republican one.
A more progressive Congress would also equal more power for us in the long run. Breaking the stranglehold of cowardly, corporate DC Dems is a long term project. We cannot expect change overnight, nor can we afford to be discouraged by the short term failures we might encounter. In the end, we will be judged by the quality of the democracy we turn over to future generations.