From the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/01/AR2007090100592.html
But, of course, we have a long way to go. And the Democratic Leadership Counsel is poised to blow it in a major way.
More below cut.
Having sowed a rather nasty brand of political wind for the last 14 years, the Republicans stand ready to reap a a truly horrendous whirlwind. Part of this comes from the fabled party discipline. They lived together for the last 14 years, with the fiscal conservatives and civil rights libertarians muting their protests while the Southern Conservative wing ran the party, now they will die togather when the Country turns against culture war and wants real results. And while critics of the Dems keep saying that the Dems have nothing and you can't beat nothing with nothing, 2006 demonstrated that sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand.
Republicans are still caught up in culture war. They have not fundamentally altered their talking points or boogeymen. It's still all about keeping us safe from big government, keeping us safe from terrorists, and keep us safe from gay marriage.
That's o.k. when people are feeling like the fundamentals are taken care of and when you are new in town. Now, people would like some $#@! RESULTS. While Americans are not craving big government, it is no longer a boogey man. People want to stop feeling like their lives are spinning out of control, with healthcare and mortgage costs rising and working longer hours. Culture war works when people are confident they will eat tomorrow and keep a roof over their heads. Let the fundamentals fall into doubt, and gay marriage becomes a *lot* less important. No, they don't suddenly support it. But you won't turn them out to vote on that issue again when you keep failing to deliver the fundamentals.
But the Dems are divided betrween the DLC, which doesn't understand that the world has changed anymore than the Rs do, and the "new Democrats," who are getting increasingly impatient with the Democratic leadership. I commend to people two rather interesting pieces. The first is this op ed by two members of the DLC called "Our Chance To Capture the Center." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/06/AR2007080601158.html Translated from the op ed language, it is a plea to the progressive wing of the party to shut up and let leadership run things along a "moderate" game plan.
The response, from two Daily Kos folks, "How We Won the Mainstream," is equally telling. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/10/AR2007081001690.html Briefly, they argue that if you get outside of Washington DC, turn off your tvs, and actually go listen to what people are saying you will find that this is no longer about winning over vaguely conservative soccer Moms whose chief issue is gun control and naughty song lyrics.
The chief problem I have at the moment with the Progressive wing of the Dems is that it isn't a coherent platform -- it's a mob. It is hard to find a fully articulated framework that covers the gamut of foreign policy and domestic policy. As I consider the modern progressive movement to have been born in the "Battle of Seattle" in 1999, and arisen from an almost allergic reaction to free market triumphalism, it is perhaps unsurprising that "progressive" has such a broad range of meanings.
I am still waiting for our FDR that will pull all of this together. But the hours is getting late for the Dems as well as for the Rs.