Chris Bowers says he'll vote for John Edwards. Markos says it's Barack Obama. I agree with both of them. The difference is that while both of them are unenthusiastic about their choices, I'd be pretty enthusiastic with either. The trouble is that I think a lot of people set their expectations for politicians too high, and then wind up unduly disappointed when reality strikes home. To me, one of the signal characteristics of this race is that thanks to the competition she's faced and to her own political skill, Hillary Clinton has really raised her game and become a much more progressive figure than I'd expected she would be at the beginning of this process. Her platform compares favorably to John Kerry's in 2004 or Al Gore's in 2000 in almost every way.
Still, I think we could do better with Edwards or with Obama. If I got to vote in the Iowa Caucus, I'd probably try to first improve my understanding of caucus mechanics, and second vote tactically. And in principle, of course, events -- including the debate that I'll be watching soon -- could change my mind. It's a close-run thing. But if you made me choose, I'd agree with Chris that Edwards' willingness to embrace progressives and the progressive movement deserves to be rewarded over Obama's aloofness.
Photo by Flickr user alexdecarvalho used under a Creative Commons license
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.