We are now in the post-election battle about what the election meant. I think that's a no-brainer. The public is tired of Iraq and the GOP Congress allowed itself to acquire a public image as corrupt and bloated. Earmarks, scandals and an unwillingness to restrain spending resulting in an uncomfortable deficit. They forgot that they were not elected to be reelected and conservatism is not synonymous with whatever the people on K Street want.
What is was not is a repudiation of social conservatism. With the exception of stem cells, the Dems played down their cultural liberalism. Nor is it right for conservatives to think that we were "defeated by the media." One of the great weaknesses of the Democratic Party as a political force is that it repeatedly believes that it loses because of the way it packages its message, rather than because of the message itself.
This brings me to the last point. The Dems really have a mandate for ... nothing. That's the way they ran this campaign which was all about George Bush all the time. Indeed, the Dems were urged to run as the party of no ideas and they did. Now comes the hard part.