The Progressive Case For Obama

Chris Hayes goes at it full-bore. The Essence:

Whoever is elected in November, progressives will probably find themselves feeling frustrated. Ultimately though, the future judgments and actions of the candidates are unknowable, obscured behind time's cloak. Who knew that the Bill Clinton of 1992 who campaigned with Nelson Mandela would later threaten to sanction South Africa when it passed a law allowing the production of low-cost generic AIDS drugs for its suffering population--or that the George W. Bush of 2000, an amiable "centrist" whose thin foreign-policy views shaded toward isolationism, would go on to become a self-justifying, delusional and messianic instrument of global war? In this sense, Bill Clinton is right: voting for and electing Barack Obama is a "roll of a dice." All elections are. But the candidacy of Barack Obama represents by far the left's best chance to, in Buchanan's immortal phrasing, take back the bigger half of the country. It's a chance we can't pass up.

Another gem:

We know how progressives fared under Clintonism: they were the bloodied limbs left in the trap. Clintonism, in other words, is the devil we know

True that. The irony of the Clintons is that for all the partisan hostility they inspired, they have never been flaming leftists. It's really difficult for me to see myself backing someone who, as one person put it (can't remember who, Johnathan Chait maybe?), is basically playing between the two 49 yard lines, and yet inspires the full fury of the opposing team. It's pretty amazing when you think about it--for all the Clinton's moderation and overtures toward the other side, they are still absolutely reviled. I don't think Hillary could compete in a single state below the Mason-Dixon line. Obama can't win states in the deep south--but he could take Virginia, for instance. I could see him threatening in Kansas or Missouri. I just don't see the same with Hillary.