I got an email this morning from Eli Pariser, Executive Director of MoveOn.org with the Subject Line, "We could lose." His email links to a web page and video with the heading: "Contribute to Victory 2008 to put a progressive in the White House."
The "we" that could lose is ostensibly the Democrats. But what's this about putting a progressive in the White House? The media has effectively narrowed down the Democratic field to two candidates, each backed by tens of millions in campaign funds, while the party's nominee for Vice President in 2004 is now merely an afterthought after just three states have cast their votes. Who is the progressive that MoveOn is referring to, Dennis Kucinich?
Democrats losing in November -- as far-fetched as it may sound with the worst president in history the current leader of the Republican Party -- is a distinct possibility. Latest polls show both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama losing to John McCain in a national election. Clinton and Obama fare much better against Romney, Huckabee and Giuliani, and Republican voters seem to understand this. "As they come to believe he is the candidate Democrats fear most, they'll probably find it even easier to vote for him in the coming primaries." After all, Republicans like to win, unlike Democrats.
John McCain and Barack Obama, at least according to the conventional wisdom, are both attracting independent voters. The problem, at least as far as progressives should be concerned, is that both McCain and Obama are courting moderate conservatives, not progressives. As always, progressives are expected to hold their noses and accept what the Democratic Party has given them for the past two decades: a moderate conservative alternative to the other party's moderate conservative candidate. Except the last Republican campaigned as a moderate (compassionate) conservative then turned out to be a died-in-the-wool, free market, shock doctrine neoconservative.
If voters do ultimately get a McCain-Clinton or McCain-Obama race, progressives have already lost this election. But anyone would be better than Bush, right?