One way or another, the period of 24/7 obsession with the Obama/Clinton showdown is about to ease up. Either Obama will wrap up the nomination on Tuesday with wins in Texas and Ohio, or a win in Texas combined with a virtual tie in Ohio; or Clinton will claim another comeback kid title by winning both states, and push onward to Pennsylvania. Either, though, the intense pace of the campaign- 37 states on 27 days- is about to ease up for awhile. After Mississippi and Wyoming wrap up a few days after March 4th, we have about six weeks before Pennsylvania.
So perhaps all of us- myself included- who have been obsessed with this race should start getting more focused on other things. There are three big things that progressive should be working on right now:
1. Defining McCain. A lot is going on in this area of activity right now, and it should be. All of the progressive movement's tools ought to be put into play to define this guy accurately: as a neocon's hyperaggressive neocon, as a far right-wing extremist on 95% of the issues, and as one of the most hypocritically corrupt guys in D.C.
2. Help progressive candidates. We've already added one person to the ranks of progressives in Congress with Donna Edwards. Now we just have to keep adding to the list. Darcy Burner, Al Franken, and Scott Kleeb are at the top of my list for whom I want to help, but I'll be adding onto that list all year long.
3. Planning for 2009. If we add to our majorities in the House and Senate, and win the Presidency this fall, it will only be the 2nd time in 28 years that Democrats will have control of all three institutions. We have both a big opportunity, and a lot of political urgency, to accomplish big things in the next session of Congress. We need to be planning now on what we should be doing to take advantage of that opportunity- both on the policy side of things, and the political strategy side as well.
The tough thing is that, after eight years of neglect and worse by Bush, the agenda is enormous. We need to work to get out of Iraq, and to pass major reform legislation on health care, climate change, immigration, and reviving the economy. That is a massive amount of really big things to try and take on, but it's all important, so we need to do some serious planning and strategy in 2008.
Both organizations and the blogosphere have a major role to play in this planning work, and I hope they can work together to being to do the strategic thinking now.