Obama's power isn't coming from a deep base, but a very wide and shallow one. It's not clear to me who his people are - women, labor, youth? I don't know. Maybe all of them. His statement on the Iraq Study Group, that it's super-good and bipartisan, suggest that he is still riding an extremely favorable mass media wave, and that there is real energy out there for a transcendant political figure who hopes big. Edwards, who I think is a much more likely candidate to win the nomination, has a much quieter strategy, working with labor and state and local candidates.
I don't really have a wizbang conclusion here. The draft Clark movement was a very personal experience, since it was my introduction to politics. I learned how horrible people on campaigns genuinely can be when they are under pressure, and how the press chooses its villains and heros based on insider codes. I learned that candidates choose their advisors based on what they want to hear, and that the responsibility for the campaign belongs to the candidate and primary voters themselves. I saw what it was like to be the ugly populist stepchild representative to Democrats who saw themselves as media darlings. I saw that individuals can make a difference, and that starfucking is the most pernicious part of politics.
I am pleased to see several draft movements in operation for Obama. If they can generate substantial email lists of 100K+, it'll become more clear who the base of the Obama boom really is. If he can draw new people into the political process, great. In 2004, Bush had become a symbol of all that was wrong with America, and we introduced new movements, tactics, and candidates to fight Bushism. I don't yet feel the zeitgeist of 2008. My sense is that insiders are as frustrated with the people as they have been for some time, and that the desire for a new politics that is bipartisan reflects their wishes as much as anyone's. What's not clear to me is how the populace is relating to its next President. I suppose much of that will have to do with the next two years, and what happens in the economy and Iraq. My guess, though I'm almost always too pessimistic, is that the popular environment in 2008 will be very very ugly.
Ed Schultz talks with Todd Webster of RunObama.com here. "Monday on The Ed Schultz Show! Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL, joins the show."