That’s Great, But…

December 18th, 2007at 09:24pm Posted by Eli

Great post by Mike Caulfield over at Blue Hampshire, and I think he might be onto something:

Obama may be the change candidate the media focuses on now, but it was Edwards, almost exactly a year ago, who gave the keynote for what the anti-Hillary campaign was going to be about.

It was going to be about the movement candidate.


Obama, meanwhile, was putting together his own movement candidacy. I’ll skip over the details — I’m sure you’ve heard about his different sort of politics once or twice. Like Edwards, Obama has focussed on building the movement which will empower the change he wants to enact.

Today, as I flipped between the coverage of the FISA debate on Daily Kos, and Chris Dodd on C-SPAN2 behind the podium doing the Lord’s work, it hit me.

We don’t need a movement candidate, because we already have a movement.

It’s there on Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, Swing State Project, Eschaton, firedoglake, and a thousand other places. And that makes 2008 different than 2004.

In 2004, Howard Dean (from whom the current movement candidates stole their blueprints) created a true movement where there was somewhat of a vacuum. But that was then, this is now. The seeds planted in 2004 have already blossomed into a movement much larger than any one candidate. According to one source, in the past weeks, the Senate was inundated with more calls on FISA than on immigration reform — let that sink in for a minute.

There is no shortage of movement. Obama and Edwards don’t have to build a movement for us.

It’s here, already.

What the movement waiting for is not an architect, but a leader.

We saw that today with Chris Dodd. It wasn’t a “movement candidate” up at the podium threatening to filibuster. And it wasn’t a “movement campaign” that put together the year’s most impressive web tool for pressuring change. And it wasn’t a movement candidate that finally stemmed the tide of Democratic capitulation and gopher-moat politics.

It was a leader. Backed by the movement that already exists.

If the other candidates are watching, there’s a lesson there: Lead, and the movement will take care of itself. Senator Dodd knows that, and because he chose to lead, we will not enter the New Year with yet another erosion of our liberties passed by a Democratic Senate.

My only problem with this is, why doesn’t Dodd have more support as a presidential candidate? I think Mike’s right that he’s probably the closest we have to a Dean in the race, and yet I’m pretty sure his support is in the low single digits. Is it just because he hasn’t started reaping the benefits of his courageous stand for FISA (and the ball-less wonders haven’t started reaping the penalties for their fecklessness), or will he just never catch fire because he’s not presidential-candidate-y enough? Or because the media can barely be bothered to talk about him, even now?

I would love to see his FISA stand finally ignite his campaign and his name recognition in the broader progressive population. He deserves it, and we deserve it.

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Constitution,Democrats,Dodd,Elections,Politics

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