You cannot blame a single democratic senator for this. There was no way they could have stopped Alito. No amount of planning would be able to stop even the most radical nominee (such as a Roy Moore). With only 45 senators, a filibuster will never work, no matter how skilled Reid and the rest are at strategizing. What this shows us is how important it is to win the senate back. Only failure to do this will allow us to assign blame.
With gerrymandering which causes most house races to be decided in the primaries, and the Grover Norquists and religious right dominionists out there getting more and more extreme candidates winning primaries, the reps are lurching further and further to the right with every election.
The DLC put out a report on this failure around 1990 regarding the elections in the 1980s. Is there some way? I'm sure something would work. Passing compulsary voting laws might be one. But this strategy is guarenteed to fail. It just wont work. If you are 50, poor, "sick and tired about being sick and tired," don't know or care who is the vice president, and haven't voted your entire life, you just are unlikely to ever vote. Actually voter apathy isn't as bad among blacks as many think. Blacks make up 12% of the total population. 11% of 2004 voters were black. The only way you can bring more out is by increasing that to 15% for example, which would require magic. That just wont happen.
Usually fall back is not a good strategy. Ask just about everyone who has ever lost a defensive war. Giving up the south would be utterly suicidal. The states of the old confederacy contain 161 electoral votes, or 60% of the 270 needed to win the POTUS election. There are 50 electoral votes outside of the south that are completely unwinnable (IN and a bunch of rocky mountain states like WY and UT). That leaves only 65 votes that we didn't win in 2000 or 2004 but Clinton did win at least once to choose from. The maximum we could get would be 324, and that would be assuming an absolute blowout. Ruling out WV and MO and focusing on OH and the rockies would result in just 308. That is why it is an unfeasible strategy. In theory it might work. In practice it would be guarenteed to fail. There are southern states that are easier to win than states like AZ and CO. Remember Clinton won 6 southern states in 1992 and 5 in 1996 (plus MO and WV both times) and he swept the election, winning 370 electoral votes in 1992 and 380 in 1996.
Running Kerry (or any other MA senator) alone was enough to lose the entire south. Edwards was a very weak candidate. Throughout 2002, 2003 and early 2004 he was running behind in the reelect numbers and had very low approval. This is exactly why he needs to stay out of politics from now on.
I don't think Huckabee is pro-life enough for the rep base. I think running any southern governor is a good idea. The best they can do to match that is run another southern govnernor, which would most likley split the south. If that happens we would sweep the election. We could lose most of the south and do very well. Even winning a couple of southern states would be enough to win easily.
Absolutely we need a Contract with America. I hope Pelosi and Reid are not as incompetent as Gephardt and Daschle and they actually do come out with a platform. I also think Iraq has already nationalized the 2006 election.
As for 54 seats, that will never happen. 1994 was a post-realignment election. It didn't result simply from Clinton's 42% approval. It resulted from the reps reaching critical mass in the south. There are the same number of reps in the house now as after 1994. Most of those 54 gains in 1994 were from the south. In 1994 a lot of house seats that were in rep leaning districts for a long time finally got reps in them. 1994 was going to happen sooner or later, and was guarenteed ever since 1968. We don't have anything like that now. This is why Bush's approval needs to be close to 35% to ensure a 16 seat democratic house takeover.
6 senators and 16 representives would do it. But to get there, Bush's approval needs to fall farther. It is now 44% more or less. It needs to get below 40% and closer to 35% before we are likely to pick up 6 and 16 seats.
Kyl isn't actually as strong as many think. Kyl (and Ensign) are both among the 18 most unpopular senators. It is still AZ and I think he will have no problem winning. Bush's approval isn't as week in AZ as the rest of the states (46% approval, 49% disapproval).
There is a theory I heard. The dems are stronger on the "mommy" issues (domestic) and reps are better on the "daddy" issues (national security). This is what resulted in close elections and divided govt over the past 40 years. If one party can take both issues, they will ensure a long term majority. The dems lost the daddy issues because of Vietnam (and some very poor presidential candidates). Kerry did a lot to win this issue back. Bush's terrorism approval rating was in the 70s and 80s a few years ago, as reps always have been with related issues (before 911 the terrorism equivilent was national security/foreign affairs). Now Bush's terrorism approval is 51%, Iraq approval 40%. Recent polls may not mean everything, but there is sustained, long term errosion in this issue for him, and possibly (probably) his party in the long run.