It's a bit late but I was out enjoying the nice evening on my deck the other day and caught up with an article in
The New Yorker by Jeffrey Goldberg on how the Democrats should position themselves for the midterms and 2008. The article reminded me of what has been the central problem for Dems since I was a Dem. They are incessantly ruminating over how they should be branded. They don't worry about what they should think nearly as much as they obsess over how to sell it. They don't think about what will work; they focus on what will win.
And, ironically, they lose.
That wasn't Goldberg's point, but, for me, the highlight of the article was the following on the author's interview of Nancy Pelosi:
"Even the most liberal Democratic officeholders recognize the need to speak to security-conscious voters in ways that will separate them from Republicans. Nancy Pelosi made a game attempt at ferocity when I talked with her. “Here’s my thing, and I will say this and you have to bear with me,” she said. “I’m a mom. I have five children, and I have five grandchildren. I always say to people, ‘Think lioness.’ This is how Democrats are. You threaten our children—and that’s America—you threaten our country, you’re dead. You’re dead.”
Small dogs bark the most. The reason that Pelosi finds it necessary to engage in just a tad bit of overcompensation here is that we all know that this is not "how Democrats are." But rather than be something new, they focus on sounding like something new.
I was actually chair of the North Shore Democrats in the '80s. We just couldn't believe that we were losing. We though it had to be the way we were saying it, but that was wrong. It was then - and is now - what they say, not how they say it.