With Bush's stunningly low approval ratings (he's now offically less popular than Nixon was in the summer of 73) it's reasonable for the Democrats to start thinking big- like taking back both the House and the Senate in 06.
Now, here's how it will go down: for the rest of 05, there will be nothing straying from the current game plan, which would be to basically try to have at least the Senate Dems on message, with the exception of an occaisonal turncoat like Liberman.
So, for example, there's no reason to filibuster Roberts- despite the fact that he appears to be an extremist, unless of course something big happens on that front - like, say, he could be filibustered.
The big enchilada, though, is 06.
There ought to be a unifying message- a Democratic "Contract for Americans."
Look, righties, it's unlikely you'll get what you want on abortion and gay rights out of the Dems, although on abortion, it's likely that the Dems could pass measures to actually minimize the number of out of wedlock births, for example.
But what would you want from them?
If you'll never vote for a Democrat unless they're against abortion and gay rights, then I suspect this doesn't matter. But then, as I implied below, you're not likely a "values" voter.
So what would change your vote? What should the Dems try to do to fix things?
Naturally they won't become Republicans.
I'd say myself they should offer up
- An exit strategy for Iraq.
- Term limits for Congressman.
- Term limits for Supreme Court justices.
- A constitutional ammendment explicitly spelling out the right of privacy.
- A constitutional ammendment on the "takings" clause.
- A real energy policy, with real conservation measures and CAFE limits for all vehichles.
There are actually a number of wedge issue laws that can be enacted.
So what would you like to see ?
Update: Digby's is indeed right here: our first priority will be to remove Republicans from power, and we will not be taking any prisoners in doing so.
It is conventional wisdom that one of the reasons Hackett did as well as he did was because of his sincere righteous indignation about the leadership of this country and I think it's at least partially true. That translates to strength and authenticity to people who hear long-winded multi-year withdrawal scenarios and immediately switch the channel --- which are a majority of voters. I think the guy is tremendously charismatic whose status as an Iraq war veteran made him somewhat unique, but there is little doubt in my mind that he was able to win over some people, probably the Ross Perot type independents, who respect candor and authenticity. In this day of over-handled candidates it is a very heady breath of fresh air to see a Democrat appear unafraid and unintimidated...
That, I think, is the real question here. Will our "shrillness" help or hurt the party? I think the netroots believes it's time to try a message that has a little more heat than lukewarm water. The establishment, still smarting from their seminal loss in 1972, is scared to death of anything that resembles real passion. Far more than a serious division in the party over specific policy, that, I think is the real fault line. What kind of politics --- not policies --- do the Democrats think will win?
So the policies I'd advocate would be ones that people would agree with but would marginalize the Republicans: the right of privacy, I think is number one on the list for this.