Recently I wrote thousands of words about the history and problems of the U.S. peace movement. (See sidebar) Booman summarized his description how the peace movement stalled in a few sentences.
He thinks the most important work that people who wanted peace have done in the last eight years has been to begin to take hold of some of the levers of power within the Democratic party, thereby moving part of the establishment a little to the left.
I don't disagree with him. The current political season will test how enduring those accomplishments may be. Will there be a President Obama? Will a President Obama seek to centralize all "progressive" tendencies within the Democratic Party under his leadership? We've seen his campaign discouraging donations to para-campaign organizations around the margins of the party. If he wins, will that mean that he'll try to subsume all the energies of his supporters in what will be his party?
One the hardest truths for people in power to remember is that having a noisy, demanding, outsider grassroots constituency helps them govern. This is so even when they are getting jacked up and called names.. This is something Obama should understand from his days as an organizer. Pushy people give cover to a progressive politician to get things done.
But this is tough to remember when being lionized as a President Obama certainly will be if he ends the long Republican ascendancy. I'll judge his maturity, which his opponent so questions, as much on how he responds his annoying, impolitic base as on any other criteria.