Like I said yesterday, I don't think it's enough to just be "for universal health care," which is basically what Barack Obama said today. He'll probably have to nail this down by the time we get to Iowa, however, so I'm somewhere in the middle between Atrios saying this doesn't matter and Ezra Klein saying it does. Obama's going to have to get specific sooner or later, particularly on what kind of foreign policy course he'd like to chart for America. I can't see him winning with vagueness. Maybe you could get away with that in 2000 or 2004, but the competition in 2008 is too fierce. And, if Al Gore jumps into the race, which is not as far-fetched as people suggest, then it's even fiercer.
For the record, though I haven't forgotten his debate pushing NAFTA in 1994 against Ross Perot, I would love to see Al Gore enter the race and win. I think Hillary Clinton is skillfully but dishonestly pushing an inevitability meme through the media, talking up the importance of big money (not that it's not, but her people are deliberately doing this to push everyone else out of the race), saying that she's "winning the netroots primary" when nothing could be further from the truth, etc. I agree with Matt Stoller:
Ironically, though she is popular among some base voters and most progressive elites, few activists, bloggers, or local politicians actually want Hillary as the nominee. Local politicians are desperately afraid she will hurt downticket candidates all over the country. Progressives know she hasn't dealt with Iraq, and will cripple the Democratic Party badly as Iraq gets worse in 2007 and 2008. And political junkies know that she has done very little that is substantive in the Senate except grant Bush the power to go to war and pander on flag-burning and video games. Politically, Hillary has passed out enough favors and kept every group atomized and fearful enough to make her seem both unpalatable and inevitable. That is why her camp is claiming that they are in the netroots primary, when they are simply not.
I believe her tending to an elite audience and ignoring the concerns of various activists explains the loathing of Hillary Clinton within a certain piece of the progressive base. I've noted before how one slice of primary voters is pretty similar to the netroots. This loathing isn't based on the right-wing slime machine, though often progressives unwittingly slip into discussions about things like 'electability'. It's a loathing that is more 'gut', more about conflicting identities. Chris has noted this with his excellent series of about a year ago on class stratification between the activist class and the elites. Hillary Clinton is an establishment elitist, and we are opposed to this institutional baggage.
I think Hillary needs to get the benefit of the doubt when she is slimed unfairly in the media, but her media sources are doing some very sneaky things as well, and primary voters need to know that. In a way it's just politics as usual, but the progressive movement is built around turning that on its end.
I don't know how much sense this made, but there you are.