Iowa ROCKS!

I’m so excited right now!  I’ll right more later, and link to some muy excellente posts, but hot damn, thank you IOWA!

Obama took first with an authoritative 31 percent.  Edwards came in a respectable second at 27.  And Clinton trailed at 24.

On the Republicans side, Huckabee took first (also with 31 percent, weird huh?), and Romney nabbed second at a distant 25.

Heading into New Hampshire, the Democrats are shaping up a strong 2008 effort, and the Republicans seem to be sharply divided between the Romney and the Corporatists, and Huckabee and the Christianists.  Both of those candidates come with severe weaknesses.  Romney is defined as a phony, and New Hampshire has some pain in store for the former Massachusetts Governor.  Huckabee is going to face down Republicans in a state renowned for its love of liberty, and his brand of in your face and bedroom religious politics is going to face a daunting uphill battle.

If like me you felt a sharp rush of excitement and energy, take a moment and breath it all in.  That’s hope.  Hope for progressive politics, and for taking this country back!

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Action and Focus Must be NOW

Johnathan Schwarz links to a brilliant piece of work by David Swanson (emphasis mine):

I know there are tender feelings involved here. I know John Edwards is cute, and even Hillary seems measurably less insane than Huckabee. I know Gravel has more heart than Biden. I know you adore Ron Paul more because you think he’ll shut down the empire than because he’s a xenophobic bigoted moron. I get that there are differences and intrigues, personalities, and tons of money and hard work at stake. My point is that we need not lower our standards so far that supporters of the last invasion who refuse to forswear the next one count as the best we can do.

But we cannot raise those standards through electoral work. If we want John Edwards to promise never to launch an aggressive war, we will impeach the people who launched the last one. If we want Hillary Clinton to commit to not spying on Huckabee (or any of us) without a warrant and probable cause, we will put behind bars the architects of the current spying programs. If we want the world to understand that Bush and Cheney and the current Congress do not speak for us, we will raise our voices now, not next November. Focusing on the choices presented to us in a two-year electoral campaign leads to insufficient pressure on Congress (with disastrous results in 2007), not to mention independent billionaire campaigns.

If we want credible elections and palatable candidates, we will break the electoral spell and start behaving like the citizens of a democracy.

Its easy to get caught up in the elections.  I know I am.  And it is damn hard to follow and engage in the day to day scuffle of politics.  But the more we involve ourselves in numbers, the more we move this country towards fulfilling its promise.

This is a perfect boon for the folks who, like me, as cynical as hell about the circus of pomp and fate we call elections.  Rather than focusing on protest votes (or protesting the vote), I can channel more and more energy into fighting aggressively to move more focus onto the issues, and the failures of those is office NOW.

Elections are important, but they are also an efficient and clever means of getting us to think and act in artificial cycles. The natural and empowering method is to let our rhetoric, our focus and our actions be one unending flow.