Most of what I've thought has been said better by someone else -- like the Crossfire guys, who said that the Democrats have lost their soul and become Bush Lite. And who wants Bush Lite when you can have Bush Classic?
I'm not writing to offend the Republicans out there that I respect. You don't have to read this. But I care about it too much to hide it behind a lj-cut.
The best writing I've seen so far is courtesy of ariedana (she rocks!!) and is reprinted here for your perusal.
"Tonight turned into a pretty nasty wash for the Democrats, overall, although the Senate hasn't officially fallen yet. And as I lie here sleepless and depressed and watch CNN do the strum and drang thing, it kind of hits me what exactly is the problem for the Dems at this point.
1. Democrat candidates aren't very attractive. Let's face it - in many of the formerly Democratic strongholds in the South and North, the Democrats that run are old-time party members, fairly old and fairly smug in their footholds in the Party. Sure, they try to fit into the "good old boy" stereotype, but c'mon, we've figured out that they aren't really out there with us digging the ditches and working the mills. Voters are being seduced by younger, prettier, hungrier Republican candidates. And the only way for the Democrats to fix this is to reboot leadership and work on who they recruit for races. A great example of this is Senator John Edwards from NC, who is young, handsome, smart and friendly as hell. He's a lawyer but he actually projects interest in the people. When he first ran for the Senate the Democrat Party in NC had a hissy fit, because he was not part of the network, but he won the primary and then beat the Republican incumbent. And I will say right now that he will probably be the Democratic nominee for President in 2004. He is the future, and the model for what the Democrats need to become.
2. The Democrats need money. The Republicans outspent the Democrats big time, and it showed. We're going to have to get people to put their money where their mouth is, and find people slightly more appealing than Barbra Streisand to fundraise. There are plenty of people in Hollywood with deep pockets and liberal leanings that would be happier to help out if they felt more represented. And that leads to...
3. We've got to stand for something. The races that fell the hardest were the ones where the Republicans painted the Democrat candidates as two-faced. They compromised on Iraq, they compromised on Homeland Security, and all it looked like was that Democrats went back on what they promised. Why would a Democrat be inclined to rush out to vote for people that tend to vote on the Republican side a little too much? And Republicans are going to vote Republican. Lose a few battles in legislation, and then call the Republicans on their crap when we go to war and go deeper into debt. Fight for the issues that people care about and really stick to them.
4. Point out Bush's flaws more effectively. News flash - people really don't like him. Especially outside the US. He's a walking joke. But yet he's hoodwinking people with his "aw, shucks" attitude. He's actually using his unpopularity in some quarters to his favor by dismissing them as weirdos. We have to expose his ineffectiveness in policy and his lack of decision-making and make people realize that you don't vote for a president based on his swagger.
5. Bring in the third parties. The Dems would have won Minnesota's governor and Senate races if 10% of the vote hadn't gone to third parties. Jean Carnahan sure could have used the 3% that voted for third parties. More and more people are using third party candidates as a "protest vote", and it's not Republican voters doing this. The Democrats are going to have to develop a strategy to address the concerns of those who say "both of them suck" and click the third lever. We should have learned that lesson from the Nader debacle in 2000.
6. Find more Paul Wellstones. No one really appreciated him fully till he was dead, but he seemed to be the kind of guy who was respected even if he wasn't agreed with. He was friendly but direct, and he always stood up for what he believed in. I think that people would take much more to that than continued mushy mouthed career politicans.
In case anyone thinks that I'm completely off writing all of this, I've spent most of my life chin-deep in Democratic politics. I was involved in both Clinton campaigns, the NC elections of 1996 and about a zillion TN state races. That was back in the days when young people and minorities were more enthusiastic and felt like they could effect change. Now the only people who feel that way are generally middle-aged and white. Guess who they vote for?"