There has been a field day for Monday-morning quarterbacks telling us why we took the shellacking the President said we took last Tuesday. So, if everyone is putting in their two-cents, I guess I can, too.
I think this beating is a two-sided coin. One side is that this is the result of thirty plus years of attacks on the Democratic brand. From the Nixon days and the invention of the "Democrat Party" slur, to the lies, distortions and calumny the Beck/Armey/Rove/Norquist/Limbaugh/FOXNEWS propaganda machine spews out daily, it is no wonder that the mother of a Democratic candidate wonders if she should vote for him. Never in the history of this country has so many media recourses - so consistently and so intensely - been aimed at destroying the integrity of a political party, its President and its candidates. This is one side of the problem.
The other is a lot harder to take. I think that the dominance of the Democratic Party, in every aspect of public policy since the 1930s, has engendered in all of us a smug sense of entitlement, which says we have a right to be the alpha party in the country. Since the Great Depression, the Republican Party has been relegated to the status of an opposition party, never the one that was the bearer of a vision of a better America. Democrats became the only party of vision and that is still true – the selling of this idea to the general public being drowned out by the Republican noise machine and assisted by our own timidity.
Having noted that, what is the way to regain our historic role? Instead of being the negotiator-in-chief, Obama and the Democratic Party must, once again, be the party of the American vision. If we simply are the party of taking the course of least resistance...of letting the GOP set the minimal standards for the nation... we deserve to be in second place. We need to make it clear to the American people that, in every way, we will not settle for mediocrity. We will stand for nothing but excellence! No more allowing ourselves to be badgered into accepting America on the cheap to gain some vapid bipartisan agreement from Republicans. We much become again the party that, unapolitically, champions the cause of working men and women: the party of a living wage, affordable health care, quality education and housing, a rising lower and middle class and environmental policies that insure we leave an "America, the beautiful" to future generations.