Democrats: Make the Pie Higher!

In my political adulthood, I have voted for one presidential candidate who won: Bill Clinton in 1996. From Dukakis to Kerry, I know what it feels like to wake up on the first Wednesday in November and clean the tire treads off my back.

Everywhere but the Electoral College, Bush and the Republicans ran us over. They gained four seats in the Senate, four in the House, and might have gained one governorship, depending on the results of a Florida-close race in Washington.

This isn't the time for Democrats to follow our normal procedure and form the circular firing squad. We have a solid base that was 150,000 votes -- perhaps much less -- from turning Republican Ohio blue and winning the White House. The with-us-or-agin-us Bush gang pushes secular, tolerant, reality-based blue America further away with each passing day. We have to take advantage of that in Congress and state capitols, electing more Barack Obamas in the home-field half of the map.

The first step is to elect a Senate Minority Leader with a solid seat in a blue state. We can't have another Tom Daschle stabbing his own back with every effort he took to fight Bush, and it appears we're about to make that mistake again.

Before Harry Reid of Nevada wins the post when Senate Democrats convene on Nov. 16, we have to bang on our senators to choose Dick Durbin, a strong Democrat and the next-most-likely contender.

Durbin, in line to succeed Reid as Minority Whip, runs next in 2008 in Illinois. His state has such an inept GOP they imported the oddball Alan Keyes, who became the biggest loser in state history. Durbin can represent his party with as little fear of electoral payback as Bill Frist in Tennessee.

We only have 12 days. Here's some contact information for Democratic senators to bang on.

Comments

Rogers, you don't know me from Adam but you're going off half-cocked. Harry Reid will be 1000 times the minority leader Tom Daschle was. You really don't know what you're talking about.

We don't need talking heads, we need committed core Democrats, and that's Harry. If you knew anything about him, you would know that.

I appreciate your blog and your writing, but you're listening to the wrong people on this one.

Rogers said,

"The with-us-or-agin-us Bush gang pushes secular, tolerant, reality-based blue America further away with each passing day."

No, that's not the way it is.

The Leftists in the Democratic Party are the big turn-off to most Americans. The Michael Moore and Hollywood crowd are causing Dems to lose.

I'm glad my fellow Republicans won big-time. It's more nails in the coffin for the Democratic Leftist plans, they don't have the votes and will hopefully soon be ousted from the Democratic Party.

Don

Well, this is done. Reid has it locked up and that's NOT a bad thing. Durbin's OK, but I'm less concerned with media than I am with someone who can rally the caucus to stonewall Bush on his court appointees.

And Don, I am a leftist. Click the link and read my blog. By my standards Moore is a Farm Bureau Republican.

But congratulations to you and Fox News. Thanks to wedge issues the right has divided us deeply, and despite my conciliatory efforts, my parents find it hard to see past my politics.

Your party is breaking up families and passing judgment on everything that moves.

Congratulations. You'll live to choke on your own vote when Bush betrays you for â€" what else? â€" money.

Here we are again typically blaming the other side. I think the reality is that both parties are alienating the other half of the electorate.

Those on the left are disgusted by the Christianity-down-your-throat and arrogant politics of the right. Those on the right are disgusted by Michael Moore and the extreme left bunch. Moderates - fewer and fewer in number - either choose a side, are ambivalant, or are equally digusted by both sides.

My feelings lie strongly with those from the left, but it can hardly be said that either side is solely at fault for the divide. America is naturally divided by differences in opinion and it looks like we're gonna be slugging this out for a while. I imagine that during the post-war Democratic rule of Congress the Republicans were fuming just as Democrats are now.

Saddam's not busy, sure he can't legally serve, but neither can Lautenberg.

He's right.

I'm a Republican from Illinois, and the Illinois GOP is so totally screwed it is powerless, they did it to themselves, with the Elmhurst republicans kicking out Jack Ryan over a sex scandal that had no sex involved. And George Ryan and the horrendous ethical scandals that made it impossible for Jim Ryan, (none of the Ryans are related), a good ethical man, to even come close to winning the governorship. He didn't lose because of his policies, he lost 'cause his name was Ryan.

The Illinois GOP is dead dead dead! And we republicans that know better are pissed off at Topinka and the few others that are causing it.

Anyway, some of you are right, those of you that say both sides are causing the division. I've heard over and over that the only reason Bush won is that he scared people with gay marriage. Well, that does not explain all the democrats that voted for those amendments in those 11 states, or all the republican seats they picked up.

Did you watch Jon Stewart last night? That senator, I forgot his name, said "we are closer to what the american people want, but Bush tricked them by scaring them about gay marriage" is insulting and dividing.

When the democratic party leadership, and the 3 networks, say things like Republicans are a bunch of country bumpkin homophobes who have less education than those that voted for Kerry, and can't decide things for themselves but get tricked into it, well can you blame them for being angry?

It is as bad as those that really are anti-gay spouting their hatred.

Is fox biased? OF COURSE! But so is CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS. All the major newspapers have their own bias as well. For democrats to chant "fox news sucks", but then not bat an eyelash when Rather and Mapes practically collaberate on forging documents it hypocritical and as short sighted as those republicans who actually believe that O'Reilly is "fair and balanced".

So -- could somebody weigh in at greater length about the advantages and disadvantages of Durbin vs. Reid?

Democrats need to rethink their strategy and forget the south and the Texas middle.

That means concentrating on bringing in
Nevada New Mexico and Colorado on the west and getting Ohio back on board in the east.

So Reid may be a good choice, He comes from close Red state and one of the fastest growing states in the nation.

I think the Democrats need to forget a southern strategy and concentrate on their strengths. That is exactly how the Republicans took over the south, years of concentated effort.

Glad to see the outcome of the election, but it is a bit odd to see Democrats like Rogers freaking out about the defeat and proposing strategies that highlight the basic weaknesses of the Democratic Party.

First, Rogers, you say that the problem with Republicans is they're all about fear, fear, fear, and then you follow that up by saying that the major criteria for selecting a Senate Minority Leader should be fear -- fear that Republicans might taget Reid.

That sort of timid, cowering, fearful strategy would be more than welcome by the President's advisers, I suspect, but I doubt that even Democrats would be crazy enough to telegraph their fears and hangups with such a weasely maneuver (though they could pleasantly surprise me).

Stylistically, they should take a lesson from Karl Rove. It doesn't matter what the election looked like, govern like you won by a landslide.

The real problem is that while Republicans have achieved an uneasy truce between the religious nuts, libertarian anarchists and moderates, internal Democratic politics is always a lot of backbiting between the far left and moderate liberals.

BTW, its also beyond silly to compare Reid to Daschle. Daschle barely beat Thune last time around -- everyone knew he'd be very vulnerable. Reid won a solid victory with 61 percent of the vote *this week*. So he'll have his seat without worrying about re-election until 2010.

So your objection makes no sense at all -- Reid won't have to face re-election until two years after Bush leaves office.

The Republicans will target the Senate Minority Leader, regardless of who he is. He's going to be the most powerful Democrat in the country.

I'm not afraid of that. I'm afraid we'll put another apologetic centrist Democrat in that position like Daschle.

Perhaps Reid isn't that kind of Democrat. He doesn't have to run again until 2010, when he'll be 70.

However, he's an anti-abortion Mormon whose official biography begins with flattering quotes from Trent Lott and Orrin Hatch and a photo of him shaking hands with Ronald Reagan.

Is he really the guy to fend off the first Bush Supreme Court nomination, who will undoubtedly be a Scalia-style judge with Roe v. Wade in his crosshairs? Dick Durbin would be better.

Rogers said: "The with-us-or-agin-us Bush gang pushes secular, tolerant, reality-based blue America..."

Ah, isn't it a bit of a misnomer to use the word 'tolerant' and 'blue America'(dems) in the same sentence..? From the tire slashings in Milwaukee, to the frothing at the mouth Lawrence O'Donnel, to the fascist Michael More, I'm just failing to see it... could someone please explain to me where the tolerant 'blue americans' are?

Well Illinois, while now seemingly a "safe" Democratic state has a long history of electing Republicans - not clear to me by a longshot that Durbin's seat if a safe one in 2008. (I'm an independant in Chicago)

Don't forget that Illinois while currently having a mostly incompetant Republican party, a Democratic governer, two democratic senators, and a major democratic mayor (Daley) we also have the current speaker of the house (Republican Denny Hastart) and his seat is a fairly safe one.

Something I am slightly surprised at - has noone suggested the John Kerry be the next minority whip? I suspect in terms of senority he is low on the totem pole, but I am also fairly certain that Massachusetts will keep on electing Democrats for the foreseeable future.

Reid has a reputation as a backroom brawler who wins way more than he loses. He's deadly serious and not a media hog. Obstructing Bush's extremist agenda won't be a pretty process, and it will be done in the backrooms and with filibusters, not at press conferences.

Most people don't know what Tom DeLay looks like and he's the most effective legislator in DC.

Reid is not good on choice, but you don't need a litmus test when ALL of Bush's court nominees will be unacceptable for a host of reasons.

There are divisions in this country because one side's leadership lies all the time. To counter that we'll need a forceful and charismatic frontrunner for the nomination, but that has nothing to do with using the Senate to put the brakes on Bush's extreme far right agenda that touts moral values while only getting around to passing pork barrel projects.

Durbin would be a great whip and a good guy to team with Reid. Neither of these guys will hesitate to lower themselves to McConnell and Frist's level.

About that 150,000 vote deficit in Ohio: I haven't seen much about this in the national media yet, but it is important to note that the Ohio Democratic party is nearly nonexistent. Once we had Senators like Metzenbaum and Glenn, but in 2002, the party couldn't find a decent candiate to run aginst the sitting governor, the unpopular-even-with-republicans Taft. In the Senate race this cycle, even Kerry's performance couldn't help Eric Fingerhut break 38%.

Lucas County in NW Ohio (Toledo) has one of the strongest Democratic parties in the state, but toledo produces no political figures that are competitive outside of the area.

Any Democrat who wants to make 2008 different than 2004 should take a lesson from this: work to keep your local and state parties competitive.

Reid is exactly what we need. He is the exception to the norm that proves the Democratic party is a party of thinking people not the dittoheads of the Limbaugh drug party. Karl Rove suggests you go after a candidate's (or party's) strengths. Who better than a pro-life Democrat to help put forth the proper questions about the lack of morality in the Republican party. Running up your kids and grandkids taxes is immoral. Preventing children from getting a decent education is immoral. We already know Reid will stand up for what he believes in.

I have major disagreements with Reid on some legislation and on his anti-choice stance. I cannot, however, think of a better choice for minority leader nor someone better to be majority leader in 2006.

It has become painfully obvious why my former party, The Democratic Party, has become a joke. The extremest mentality that you regard as rational is dying a very slow but deliberate death and I could not be happier. The mentality of today is much different than that of the mid 1960's and "Democrats" must change their game to avoid complete and total defeat in every election to come. I cringe to think of 2008 when Hillary "Bull Dyke" Clinton runs for office... if you think Middle America hated John Kerry, you haven't seen anything yet.

Rogers, Mark G., Joshua, thanks for the insights. Must. Jockey. Now.

But at the same time, we can't lose sight of the big question Election 2004 has raised and the DNC must answer to maintain momentum: Why does the Democratic Party exist?

Rogers, the Republicans would love it if your advice were followed.

Take a look at the county-by-county map and ask yourself why the Democrat party is so out of touch with such a huge portion of the country. Perhaps it is because the Pelosis and Schumers don't *need* to connect with the people of "flyover country", since their own seats are safe in the tiny pockets of unassailable blue territory. But while this is good for Pelosi, it's not good for the party as a whole.

Unless the Democrats figure out how to start connecting and appealing to those red counties again, the party is over -- and the norms of the hardcore blue pockets are not what is going to appeal to all of the potential Democrats in red counties. Certainly painting the whole of red country as stupid hicks is not going to win many converts. So perhaps the best thing is to have a Democrat leader from a red state, because he could then start to steer the party back to where it needs to be to appeal to more than just a few liberal cities.

Rogers, you don't know me from Adam but you're going off half-cocked. Harry Reid will be 1000 times the minority leader Tom Daschle was. You really don't know what you're talking about.

We don't need talking heads, we need committed core Democrats, and that's Harry. If you knew anything about him, you would know that.

I appreciate your blog and your writing, but you're listening to the wrong people on this one.

"people see chaos as part of life and not to be denied, hence the economics and war and terror"

I don't remember hearing that Bush campaign slogan before. Is it a new one?

Rogers said,

"The with-us-or-agin-us Bush gang pushes secular, tolerant, reality-based blue America further away with each passing day."

No, that's not the way it is.

The Leftists in the Democratic Party are the big turn-off to most Americans. The Michael Moore and Hollywood crowd are causing Dems to lose.

I'm glad my fellow Republicans won big-time. It's more nails in the coffin for the Democratic Leftist plans, they don't have the votes and will hopefully soon be ousted from the Democratic Party.

Don

Well, this is done. Reid has it locked up and that's NOT a bad thing. Durbin's OK, but I'm less concerned with media than I am with someone who can rally the caucus to stonewall Bush on his court appointees.

And Don, I am a leftist. Click the link and read my blog. By my standards Moore is a Farm Bureau Republican.

But congratulations to you and Fox News. Thanks to wedge issues the right has divided us deeply, and despite my conciliatory efforts, my parents find it hard to see past my politics.

Your party is breaking up families and passing judgment on everything that moves.

Congratulations. You'll live to choke on your own vote when Bush betrays you for â€" what else? â€" money.

Here we are again typically blaming the other side. I think the reality is that both parties are alienating the other half of the electorate.

Those on the left are disgusted by the Christianity-down-your-throat and arrogant politics of the right. Those on the right are disgusted by Michael Moore and the extreme left bunch. Moderates - fewer and fewer in number - either choose a side, are ambivalant, or are equally digusted by both sides.

My feelings lie strongly with those from the left, but it can hardly be said that either side is solely at fault for the divide. America is naturally divided by differences in opinion and it looks like we're gonna be slugging this out for a while. I imagine that during the post-war Democratic rule of Congress the Republicans were fuming just as Democrats are now.

Saddam's not busy, sure he can't legally serve, but neither can Lautenberg.

He's right.

I'm a Republican from Illinois, and the Illinois GOP is so totally screwed it is powerless, they did it to themselves, with the Elmhurst republicans kicking out Jack Ryan over a sex scandal that had no sex involved. And George Ryan and the horrendous ethical scandals that made it impossible for Jim Ryan, (none of the Ryans are related), a good ethical man, to even come close to winning the governorship. He didn't lose because of his policies, he lost 'cause his name was Ryan.

The Illinois GOP is dead dead dead! And we republicans that know better are pissed off at Topinka and the few others that are causing it.

Anyway, some of you are right, those of you that say both sides are causing the division. I've heard over and over that the only reason Bush won is that he scared people with gay marriage. Well, that does not explain all the democrats that voted for those amendments in those 11 states, or all the republican seats they picked up.

Did you watch Jon Stewart last night? That senator, I forgot his name, said "we are closer to what the american people want, but Bush tricked them by scaring them about gay marriage" is insulting and dividing.

When the democratic party leadership, and the 3 networks, say things like Republicans are a bunch of country bumpkin homophobes who have less education than those that voted for Kerry, and can't decide things for themselves but get tricked into it, well can you blame them for being angry?

It is as bad as those that really are anti-gay spouting their hatred.

Is fox biased? OF COURSE! But so is CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS. All the major newspapers have their own bias as well. For democrats to chant "fox news sucks", but then not bat an eyelash when Rather and Mapes practically collaberate on forging documents it hypocritical and as short sighted as those republicans who actually believe that O'Reilly is "fair and balanced".

So -- could somebody weigh in at greater length about the advantages and disadvantages of Durbin vs. Reid?

Glad to see the outcome of the election, but it is a bit odd to see Democrats like Rogers freaking out about the defeat and proposing strategies that highlight the basic weaknesses of the Democratic Party.

First, Rogers, you say that the problem with Republicans is they're all about fear, fear, fear, and then you follow that up by saying that the major criteria for selecting a Senate Minority Leader should be fear -- fear that Republicans might taget Reid.

That sort of timid, cowering, fearful strategy would be more than welcome by the President's advisers, I suspect, but I doubt that even Democrats would be crazy enough to telegraph their fears and hangups with such a weasely maneuver (though they could pleasantly surprise me).

Stylistically, they should take a lesson from Karl Rove. It doesn't matter what the election looked like, govern like you won by a landslide.

The real problem is that while Republicans have achieved an uneasy truce between the religious nuts, libertarian anarchists and moderates, internal Democratic politics is always a lot of backbiting between the far left and moderate liberals.

BTW, its also beyond silly to compare Reid to Daschle. Daschle barely beat Thune last time around -- everyone knew he'd be very vulnerable. Reid won a solid victory with 61 percent of the vote *this week*. So he'll have his seat without worrying about re-election until 2010.

So your objection makes no sense at all -- Reid won't have to face re-election until two years after Bush leaves office.

The Republicans will target the Senate Minority Leader, regardless of who he is. He's going to be the most powerful Democrat in the country.

I'm not afraid of that. I'm afraid we'll put another apologetic centrist Democrat in that position like Daschle.

Perhaps Reid isn't that kind of Democrat. He doesn't have to run again until 2006, when he'll be 70.

However, he's an anti-abortion Mormon whose official biography begins with flattering quotes from Trent Lott and Orrin Hatch and a photo of him shaking hands with Ronald Reagan.

Is he really the guy to fend off the first Bush Supreme Court nomination, who will undoubtedly be a Scalia-style judge with Roe v. Wade in his crosshairs? Dick Durbin would be better.

Rogers said: "The with-us-or-agin-us Bush gang pushes secular, tolerant, reality-based blue America..."

Ah, isn't it a bit of a misnomer to use the word 'tolerant' and 'blue America'(dems) in the same sentence..? From the tire slashings in Milwaukee, to the frothing at the mouth Lawrence O'Donnel, to the fascist Michael More, I'm just failing to see it... could someone please explain to me where the tolerant 'blue americans' are?

Well Illinois, while now seemingly a "safe" Democratic state has a long history of electing Republicans - not clear to me by a longshot that Durbin's seat if a safe one in 2008. (I'm an independant in Chicago)

Don't forget that Illinois while currently having a mostly incompetant Republican party, a Democratic governer, two democratic senators, and a major democratic mayor (Daley) we also have the current speaker of the house (Republican Denny Hastart) and his seat is a fairly safe one.

Something I am slightly surprised at - has noone suggested the John Kerry be the next minority whip? I suspect in terms of senority he is low on the totem pole, but I am also fairly certain that Massachusetts will keep on electing Democrats for the foreseeable future.

Reid has a reputation as a backroom brawler who wins way more than he loses. He's deadly serious and not a media hog. Obstructing Bush's extremist agenda won't be a pretty process, and it will be done in the backrooms and with filibusters, not at press conferences.

Most people don't know what Tom DeLay looks like and he's the most effective legislator in DC.

Reid is not good on choice, but you don't need a litmus test when ALL of Bush's court nominees will be unacceptable for a host of reasons.

There are divisions in this country because one side's leadership lies all the time. To counter that we'll need a forceful and charismatic frontrunner for the nomination, but that has nothing to do with using the Senate to put the brakes on Bush's extreme far right agenda that touts moral values while only getting around to passing pork barrel projects.

Durbin would be a great whip and a good guy to team with Reid. Neither of these guys will hesitate to lower themselves to McConnell and Frist's level.

About that 150,000 vote deficit in Ohio: I haven't seen much about this in the national media yet, but it is important to note that the Ohio Democratic party is nearly nonexistent. Once we had Senators like Metzenbaum and Glenn, but in 2002, the party couldn't find a decent candiate to run aginst the sitting governor, the unpopular-even-with-republicans Taft. In the Senate race this cycle, even Kerry's performance couldn't help Eric Fingerhut break 38%.

Lucas County in NW Ohio (Toledo) has one of the strongest Democratic parties in the state, but toledo produces no political figures that are competitive outside of the area.

Any Democrat who wants to make 2008 different than 2004 should take a lesson from this: work to keep your local and state parties competitive.

Reid is exactly what we need. He is the exception to the norm that proves the Democratic party is a party of thinking people not the dittoheads of the Limbaugh drug party. Karl Rove suggests you go after a candidate's (or party's) strengths. Who better than a pro-life Democrat to help put forth the proper questions about the lack of morality in the Republican party. Running up your kids and grandkids taxes is immoral. Preventing children from getting a decent education is immoral. We already know Reid will stand up for what he believes in.

I have major disagreements with Reid on some legislation and on his anti-choice stance. I cannot, however, think of a better choice for minority leader nor someone better to be majority leader in 2006.

It has become painfully obvious why my former party, The Democratic Party, has become a joke. The extremest mentality that you regard as rational is dying a very slow but deliberate death and I could not be happier. The mentality of today is much different than that of the mid 1960's and "Democrats" must change their game to avoid complete and total defeat in every election to come. I cringe to think of 2008 when Hillary "Bull Dyke" Clinton runs for office... if you think Middle America hated John Kerry, you haven't seen anything yet.

Rogers, Mark G., Joshua, thanks for the insights. Must. Jockey. Now.

But at the same time, we can't lose sight of the big question Election 2004 has raised and the DNC must answer to maintain momentum: Why does the Democratic Party exist?

Rogers, the Republicans would love it if your advice were followed.

Take a look at the county-by-county map and ask yourself why the Democrat party is so out of touch with such a huge portion of the country. Perhaps it is because the Pelosis and Schumers don't *need* to connect with the people of "flyover country", since their own seats are safe in the tiny pockets of unassailable blue territory. But while this is good for Pelosi, it's not good for the party as a whole.

Unless the Democrats figure out how to start connecting and appealing to those red counties again, the party is over -- and the norms of the hardcore blue pockets are not what is going to appeal to all of the potential Democrats in red counties. Certainly painting the whole of red country as stupid hicks is not going to win many converts. So perhaps the best thing is to have a Democrat leader from a red state, because he could then start to steer the party back to where it needs to be to appeal to more than just a few liberal cities.

Your advice could just as easily apply to the Republicans, Joshua. But no one is saying that they are disconnected from the blue states because of Congressional leaders like Sen. Bill Frist, Rep. Tom Delay, and former Majority Leader Trent Lott -- who recently described Manhattan as "the belly of the beast."

A Senate leader should be someone who can be completely unequivocal in his support for the politics of the party. If you put someone in that position from the center as a sop to the people on the other side, you alienate your own base of voters.

Harry Reid was one of only five Democratic senators last year to vote against a resolution supporting Roe v. Wade. While I think there's room in the caucus for disagreement, I don't think you should elect a Senate leader who doesn't support one of the strongest planks of the Democratic platform.

As for the county-by-county map of the country that's making the Michelle Malkins of the world so excited, geographic regions don't vote for president. People do. A red/blue map with county size drawn by population would show that it's a 50/50 nation.

"people see chaos as part of life and not to be denied, hence the economics and war and terror" ................I don't remember hearing that Bush campaign slogan before. Is it a new one?.....

Let me be clearer. People see the chaos as part of life and not to be denied, hence the economics and war and terror, which I think are part of normalcy, are unconciously accepted by the election mandate/non-mandate.

Yeah, I know I'm stretching the interpretation considering these last two elections have been virtually tied.

What I'm getting at is that the pseudo-socialistic psychological disposition that is espoused by the DNC has lost considerable power in this election. Which is fine by me, to be blunt. I think that the intellectually and economically weaker members of this society do not benefit from the idealistic nature of the left.

And yes, it was a campaign slogan! There is an old Soviet microdot on every BUSH/CHENEY'04 bumper sticker, just to right of the slash and in a southern direction.

The advice does apply to Republicans, Rogers. When Trent Lott appeared to be intolerant and divisive, he was promptly removed as party leader. At the RNC convention, the Republicans featured two pro-choice keynote speakers. I agree that you want a party leader who is loyal to the planks of the party, but you'd better also be open to adjusting the planks if the size of the base they support is shrinking. I just don't see how an insulated blue Democrat is going to have the courage to reach out and push the whole party more toward the center where it needs to be.

And I think that the red-blue maps really do matter. All politics is local, and it matters who your neighbors are. Most Democrats live in areas where they can only find supporters within a five mile radius, and perhaps even visit Europe or Canada more often than they visit red counties. The dismissive attitude of "Geography doesn't matter, that's only 51% of the population" tells me that the Democrats are still in complete denial about how far out of touch the party has become.

If you don't like geography, look at the other numbers. This year the Republicans had an incumbent with an unpopular and messy war and a recession, and Democrats had unprecedented increases in voter turnout and spent billions on campaigning. It was the Democrats race to lose. Yet the Democrats got beaten badly on all fronts. Democrats were surprised at the strong turnout of the opposition (not just Republicans, but Democrats voting for Bush who actually got out and voted). Democrats were surprised to see that youth voters from red counties tend to vote more aligned with geography than with age group. Democrats were surprised about a lot of things. But the degree of denial that remains is stunning, with Democrats across the board saying that they got beat simply because the voters were stupid, scared, ignorant, or intolerant. "Blame the voters" is not a good survival strategy, and until the Democrats figure out why they are failing to connect, it's just going to get worse.

In the final exit polls in the 2004 election, 55 percent of the voters (and from 60 to 73 percent of Kerry voters) said that abortion should be "always legal" or "mostly legal."

That's the mainstream of the country. Pulling up that plank would hurt the party (and dry up a lot of funding from women's groups).

Democrats don't win elections by imitating Republicans. They win by presenting a distinct alternative and clearly articulating their values.

In the final exit polls in the 2004 election, 55 percent of the voters (and from 60 to 73 percent of Kerry voters) said that abortion should be "always legal" or "mostly legal."

Yep, and we all know how accurate those exit polls have been lately.

This isn't about abortion, it's about Democrats being arrogant and out of touch with much of America. As I said, the Republicans featured pro-choice keynotes at their convention, so obviously pro-choice is a big part of America that the Republicans recognize and welcome into the big tent. It's just ridiculous to even think that the Democrats would abandon the pro-choice plank just because Reid is minority leader. To even bring it up seems like a desperate attempt to change the subject.

And I disagree that Democrats win by "presenting a distinct alternative and clearly articulating their values". It seems to be losing for them, so far. It's arrogant, too. I think politicians win by listening, understanding, and reflecting the values of their constituency, not by being different and "educating" the constituency. The politicians work for the voters, not the other way around -- and when 51% of the voters reject the values of the politician, that's the wrong politician. This is the problem with letting the party agenda be driven by people too isolated in the blue zones. You end up with politicians who are convinced of their own righteousness and who feel that the bulk of voters are just ignorant and need to be educated.

There's nothing arrogant about articulating your values so that voters know what you believe.

As for the larger discussion, I think we're getting into a different subject -- how to win over the middle. The Minority Leader isn't running for national elective office. From a strategic standpoint, he needs to be someone who can unapologetically lead the party on the issues that matter the most to its constituency. Putting a Joe Lieberman in there cedes too much ground to the opposition.

To put it another way, what are the odds that Republicans would welcome pro-choice Arlen Specter as their Majority Leader?

Coming back to this a bit late, but I'd like to underscore the difference between a Reid and a Durbin.

All we are looking for in the Senate, especially if they change the rules to 51 votes for cloture, is someone who will fight hard and even dirty when push comes to shove to slow or stop unacceptable nominations and play politics with bad legislation to create issues for 2006 (a game the GOP excels at).

Reid can and will do those things. Durbin can and will sound good talking to the press, but that doesn't slow down the GOP and just gives them Fox fodder to anger their supporters with.

It will be very hard for the GOP to vilify Harry. He's soft spoken but has a heart of flint and the resolve of a Marine commando.

He IS the right man for the job, and Durbin will make a very good whip.

In the Senate we have the best leadership possible given the next to impossible situation. It all falls on Reid and Durbin now, and the rest of us can chill for a while before focusing on the '06 off-year elections.

I am EXTREMELY pro-choice, but this isn't about choice. If you want to be tactical about this, you should egg the GOP into taking away choice altogether. Then we can talk about a highly motivated base that will make the gay-bashing fundies look like latté sippers by comparison.

Love your passion and glad we're on the same side. And the previous poster who called Michael Moore a fascist is an idiot of the first order who should study up on the "14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism."

"To put it another way, what are the odds that Republicans would welcome pro-choice Arlen Specter as their Majority Leader?"

OK, suddenly I see your point. Even with Republicans allowing pro-choice into the tent, it's pretty hard to imagine them letting a pro-choice guy run the senate. Looked at from that angle, putting Reid in the minority leader position seems like quite a concession.

Glad to see it is not too late. Thought about this today and am more convinced that it should be John Kerry.

Before I make the case, is there a "Senate for Dummies" somewhere that describes the role of a) Senate party leader, b) Senate minority leader or c) Senate Democrat leader?

Looking for something beyond "the role is to lead their fellow Democratic senators".

Beating Tom Daschle like a rented mule: Millions of dollars. Letting John Kerry dig his own grave: More of the same. Watching the Democrats follow the exact same strategy to defeat (six years hence): Priceless!

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