Of course the Alito nomination could have been won, as could; the Plame outing, the Gonzalez nomination, taxcut welfare, the environment, and a host of other nominations and issues. The problem here is implementation failure.
The party apparatus is aligned top down, with the minority marquee names at top charged with direction and execution, and with majority base only to be used for election. The majority of our party, not only has no input within the structure, but more importantly, no access to the structure other than elections. The base is strategic; the leadership is tactical (or is supposed to be). So, why is the leadership failing on so many issues and nominations?
There are many answers to the tactical failures, but only one is the genesis of all the others; the base failed to exert the strategic power of election. We progressives have failed our party by not vetting candidates within the primaries and by passing the failing incumbents in pursuit of expediency. Now we are in the dismal position of having the potential for a total re-alignment of power in 2006 with an apparatus that fails in implementation.
So, we the base have a choice. Do we allow strategic failure to continue, making tactical failure likely? Or do we start to project our strategic power in order to win the future tactical battles? The Liebermans, Bidens, and Salazars, will coo softly "it's just like going to sleep". It is time the base shouts back, "no it's just like getting fired".