From the NOW web site:
In Maryland, six-term incumbent Al Wynn is facing a tough challenge from newcomer Donna Edwards. According to Edwards, Wynn has sold out to big business and the Bush agenda, including a vote for the war in Iraq and the 2005 energy bill. Wynn says his challenger is naive and doesn't understand that there are choices in politics between compromise and doing nothing. Fueling candidates like Edwards are the foot soldiers of the progressive battle—bloggers and other political outsiders like Matt Stoller of OpenLeft.com who are drumming up national support on the Internet. Maria Hinojosa speaks with the candidates and Matt Bai, author of The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle To Remake Democratic Politics.
Although NOW is usually spot-on in its analysis, I couldn't help but be bothered by how the show framed the struggle as between Progressives who seek to move the party Leftwards and Centrists who seek to move it to the Center. The language being used--"left," "center," etc. are meaningless to me except as a shorthand way to describe the ideological character of the opposing sides. But this has an effect of pigeonholing both sides and reducing the struggle to one that is mainly about ideology.
Progressives who are frustrated with the Democratic Party usually do so not because of ideological disagreement but because the Democratic party has disappointed them on concrete issues such as: the Iraq war, NAFTA and other free-trade agreements, welfare reform, and that many Congressional Democrats routinely vote with the Republicans on key pieces of legislation. It's partly about ideology but it is moreso about does the Democratic Party truly represent their interests anymore?
Given such a situation, a Progressive Democrat has a choice to make: try to change the Democratic Party from within or go outside the party and become an Independent or a third-party advocate. The struggle presented in NOW illustrated the efforts of folks who chose to go the first route. Personally I have chosen to go the second route. However, I fully realize that the outcome of the internal struggle within the Democratic Party has implications for politics that will be wide-ranging.
The NOW web site has a few excellent links to several resources including a video of the segment, a guide to Progressive and Centrist Democrats, and a thoughtful response to Matt Bai's book.