(Caveat lector: The following reflects my own coffee-addled meanderings, not an official position adopted by BlueNovember.)
Michael Moore has posted a thoughtful analysis of the three Democratic front runners. He declines to make an outright choice, but it's clear he's leaning to Edwards. At Alternet, Norman Solomon offers a cogent argument for why those who have been sticking with Kucinich should consider shifting to Edwards; like many of us, he's mystified by Kucinich's decision to instruct his supporters in Iowa to switch to Obama after the first ballot. Kucinich has been the most progressive, forthright candidate in the Democratic pack, and Edwards is the frontrunner with the positions closest to his. It makes no sense for Kucinich folks to move toward Obama. Go figure.
The primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina will probably settle Edwards's chances. If he can win or even finish close in NH and then win in SC, he stays viable. If he doesn't, then I'm for Obama as the obvious best bet to stop Clinton. I don't hate Clinton the way many progressives seem to. Though I find her vote on the Iraq war resolution and her failure to make amends for it to be unforgivable, and though her later support of a resolution declaring an element in the Iranian security apparatus a "terrorist" organization seems equally politically motivated, I don't think, in the long run, that a Clinton presidency would be much different from an Obama presidency. They both would have to deal with a Neanderthal Congress (even it's run by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi), and they both have far too many ties to corporate interests (consider, for example, Obama's cozy relationship with big coal). I find Obama's endless talk of "change" to be vague, almost empty. But when it comes down to choosing between Obama and Clinton, I pick Obama, simply because I think he has a better chance of winning next November. Clinton has too many negatives with too many voters, who I think are more likely to move toward a relatively fresh face. Obama and Clinton are offering policy positions much more similar than different. Edwards's are better, especially with respect to the power of wealth in our political culture, but the media have opted to marginalize him (just look at the coverage in today's New York Times [h/t, jj]), and that may mean the end of his chances. So if we're left with Clinton and Obama, I'm going with Obama.
Another thing: when the hell is this country going to make its elections remotely democratic? The travesty of the Iowa caucuses and the obscene wads of money dumped there on television, political operatives, and god knows what else should ring alarm bells across the land. And now it's on to New Hampshire, another nearly all-white, low-population, rural state. Why in the world do these backwaters have so much authority in the selection of the American president? From the primaries to the Electoral College, the American system of voting is dysfunctional, undemocratic, and unrepresentative. Today's Times Herald offers a predictably vapid essay (not available on line) by DeWayne Wickham on the putative superiority of the process by which Americans elect their president, with the absurd claim that it offers "the world a lesson in self-governance that can be learned nowhere else around the globe"; I don't think the irony in that declaration was intended. You could say that the lesson suggested by our system is indeed unique. It's uniquely chaotic and unreflective of the popular will, and no people in their right mind would adopt it. In France (a country and a culture the American right wing loves to ridicule), to offer a counter-example, people vote for president, and the candidate with the most votes wins. Sounds pretty straightforward, does it not? In the United States, we can't do anything so obvious. Just ask Al Gore, who won the popular vote in 2000. That's a lesson for the world? Wayne, you must be joking!
The messiness of the whole process is well exemplified by the Michigan Democratic primary, which apparently is completely meaningless--not to mention a waste of money. I'm considering voting in the republican primary, just to muddy their already turbulent waters. Whom I should vote for? I'm thinking McCain is now the front runner, and I predict he'd be a formidable opponent. I also think he's nuts, so I don't want to help him. Giuliani scares the sox off me (take a look at Elizabeth Kolbert's probing analysis of Rudy in the New Yorker), so I sure don't go for him. Huckabee's a flake, and a win for him would upset the party bosses, but he's also pretty scary and might surprise us all. Romney is an empty suit, and I think any one of the leading Dems could take him down. So maybe I'll give him my vote on the 15th.