One of the reasons for the 'pounce' is that a fair number of Democratic senators and congressmen have a long history of stabbing the base in the back (e.g., bankruptcy bill, Alito closure fight, estate tax). Trust is a two way street: a lot of the Democrats haven't earned it. Hopefully, they will earn our trust once they starting enacting good legislation.
I don't know if this is my "baseline", but I am very concerned about how the presidential candidate will affect the ability of the Democrats to solidify their congressional gains (and the downticket elections too). Given that Obama has a distressing habit of inventing bogus Democratic strawmen and then attacking them (e.g., here), I'm not convinced he would be the best standard bearer for the party or the best president. Clinton is definitely out by that criterion (she didn't even bother to help nail down upstate NY).
I thought Schaller in book made it clear that Democrats should run against Southern conservatives, not the South as a whole. What he does argue is that the South shouldn't be seen as the first place Democrats should look to in order to gain seats, given the significantly different demographics in the South (by significant, I mean the "20-25% of the population" that tips the South (in aggregate) to Republicans. And Schaller does argue that the Democrats should be able to pick up some seats in the South.
What I thought Schaller was arguing against was shaping the national Democratic agenda to accomodate the South above all else. That is foolish.
I'm not sure there's a lot of disagreement here. Perhaps Kilgore is setting up a bit of a straw man?
I would add blogging about science issues. The Dems have been very strong (given their lack of political power) is exposing 'the War on Science', and it's something that this site should be covering more frequently. For instance, how is stifling a NASA scientist any different than stifling a Pentagon whistleblower. One is called 'politics' and gets discussed, the other is called 'science' and is ignored by those who have the capacity to change something.
We should go after...everything. By that I mean, don't pick one public issue. Find twenty that will infuriate and dishearten Republicans (the previous comments are a good list), and try to sneak them in through dead-of-night riders. Most won't get through--the Republicans will probably control the Senate and have a presidential veto. But some will. Hit them whenever there's a target of opportunity. We're not at the point where we can force issues. Reagan controlled the executive branch which wields a lot of regulatory power; congressional Dems won't be able to do that. Patience is required here (hopefully).
I think there are three separate issues here that might be getting conflated:
LCV, as far as I can tell, is a 501(c)4. That limits the type of advocacy they can perform. (Of course, this doesn't seem to stop the 'Christian' right, but they are probably breaking the law).
Given the way progressive groups are typically funded--dependent on tax deductible contributions, many progressive groups, single issue or not, are going to be limited in the endorsements they can make. In the current funding environment (and the lack of corporate backers for obvious reasons), many groups will be stuck with the 501(c)4 model.
Progressives need to determine if there is a better mechanism for funding their organization, regardless of focus, so that they can engage in more explicit political activity.
I think the LCV strategy has less to do with political naivety and much more to do with funding.
The Democrats are behaving just like they did with Iraq: cowardly and craven. George Clooney (?!?) said it best:
The fear of been criticized can be paralyzing. Just look at the way so many Democrats caved in the run up to the war. In 2003, a lot of us were saying, where is the link between Saddam and bin Laden? What does Iraq have to do with 9/11? We knew it was bullshit. Which is why it drives me crazy to hear all these Democrats saying, "We were misled." It makes me want to shout, "Fuck you, you weren't misled. You were afraid of being called unpatriotic."
During her tenure at Transportation, Dole wanted to impose a nationwide drinking age of 21.
"I hate that woman," she told the reporter. "I just can't stand her. Anyone who wants to force an increase in the drinking age to 21. ... She can send our boys off to fight wars when they're 17 and 18 but won't let them drink till they're 21."
Um, is it really bad if I think Schmidt was right?
I think what happened is that other events such as wiretapping and Abramoff pushed Alito to the background; for the record, I defined Alito as a litmus test early on (late October).
I think there are two reasons the politically motivated use the web:
1) to discover new information, or new interpretations of existing information (e.g., the anti-Chris Matthews perspective).
2) to mobilize people to engage politically (at the risk of speaking for you, I think that's how you see the internet being used).
The lefty blogosphere is very good at #1, but not so good at #2. In part, a lack of discipline is at fault: it's very hard to keep a focus on a handful of issues, particularly on the web. There's no one to get in your face and tell you to focus: the medium encourages stream-of-consciousness, not message discipline.
Or maybe we're just not as smart as we think we are...