Nothing saddens me more then when I see people in the netroots trying to play Washington insider. When I see netroots activists talking about which vice-presidential candidate someone should choose in order to better scam certain national demographic groups into voting for the Democratic ticket, it really bums me out. Whenever I see netroots activists declaring their support for a candidate based on his or her "electability," it really bums me out. Whenever I see netroots activists deeming candidate X or candidate Y "un-electable" for one of the many clichéd and utterly discredited reasons that the established has always used to deem candidates unelectable ("doesn't play in the heartland," "too liberal," "can't swing the South or the border states," "not enough military credentials") I almost start shaking with rage. Since when did we become the same losers we are trying to replace via the silent revolution?
What Democrats need in 2008 is a candidate who can truly inspire people. That is the only way we are going to achieve the transformation that the progressive movement promises. It is not going to be done through narrow targeting.
In an age of narrow targeting, where our country is "sliced and diced" by pollsters and pundits--as Barack Obama put it in 2004--in order to find the perfect candidate, the candidate is discouraged from being bold. The most compelling candidates I have seen, Obama, Clinton (probably Reagan, though I was only a semi-cognizant being when he was presdent) are good at looking at the big picture and trying to draw out a few anxieties that speak to the broad American experience and respond to those anxieties with a few ideas. Hillary Clinton should not remover herself from the race because she's a woman, nor should Obama remove himself because he is half black or because he will not have served a full U.S. Senate term by 2008. Either candidate should remove her/himself if s/he starts narrowly defining issues, persisting to appeal to a political "center" that probably does not exist, or targeting a few states and regions to eke out just enough votes to win the electoral college map.