I wanted to add another layer to my response to Bob Cesca’s call for blogger endorsements of Barack Obama.
One of the reasons we probably haven’t seen more blogger endorsements of the presidential candidates is that, contrary to media narratives about our field, this is not the greatest assembly of Democratic pols ever. Yes, there are true celebrities in Obama and Clinton, experienced hands in Dodd, Biden, and Richardson, and a man who did all he could to make economic populism a national platform. But all of them have weakness, from a lack of experience (or a lack of the right kind of experience), to recently found progressive ideals, to a history of corporatist principles, to being too senatorial and so on. There are things I deeply respect and admire with every one of our candidates, but as far as it goes, I think no one was really offering the complete package grassroots and netroots activists were looking for, which is the best explanation for why we haven’t seen more endorsements.
By contrast, I look at our farm team for the next couple of elections and I see candidates that may well be more exciting and dynamic, with a wide range of backgrounds than our current crop. Governors Eliot Spitzer, Martin O’Malley, Ted Strickland, Kathleen Sebelius, and Brian Schweitzer, along with Senators Jim Webb and John Tester are all people worth looking at seriously. There’s also always the hope that progressive lions like Russ Feingold, Al Gore or Howard Dean would consider running for the presidency.
It’s hard to look at any Democratic politician and see perfection. I never thought Chris Dodd was perfect, but I saw him as the best person for the job. I worked hard for him, but we didn’t win. I’m not prepared to endorse now that it’s a two person race any more than I was prepared to endorse when it was a three or four person race.
I’m left wondering, if you’re not willing to give your full support to a candidate, is it worth it endorsing for the sake of endorsing?