This MSNBC article about how former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer may enter the 2016 Democratic Presidential primary by positioning himself clearly to the left of Obama on many key issues is one of the best stories I have read in weeks. From MSNBC:
But at the moment, Schweitzer is rubbing his chin, looking up at the ceiling, searching – unsuccessfully – for just the right words. The question was simple enough: Is there a single thing President Obama has done that you consider a positive achievement?
Finally, he spoke.
“My mother, God rest her soul, told me ‘Brian, if you can’t think of something nice to say about something change the subject,’” he said.
But he couldn’t help himself, slamming Obama’s record on civil liberties (the NSA revelations were “un-effing-believable”), his competency (“They just haven’t been very good at running things”), and above all, Obamacare (“It will collapse on its own weight”).
The chances of Schweitzer winning the primary are small but choosing a nominee is only one function of a presidential primary.
They are the closest we get to having a real national debate about what each party stands for. These primaries can shape the policy decisions of a party for years, if not decades. For example, even though he lost John Edward played a very big role in raising the prominence of health care reform as an issue for Democrats in 2008.
This defining debate though only takes place if there is a contested primary with candidates who have unique positions. Schweitzer could play a critical role in shaping the debate on issues ranging from NSA oversight to single-payer health care.