It isn't just bad politics to lay out plans, it's irresponsible and dishonest to do so. Laying out plans is a promise to voters, and it's obvious that Democrats won't be able to get Bush to adopt Democratic plans in 2007 and 2008, no matter what. So laying out plans is immediately laying out a series of preemptive broken promise.
So you're saying a Democratic Congress will have no control over its own actions until there's a Democratic president? I hope you don't mean that, because it's absurd.
If we tell the public we don't know what we plan to do, other than investigate, it will sound suspiciously like Bush's 2000 campaign for president, where he also wouldn't tell us what he planned to do. A good reason for voters to stay home.
I can't speak for Bill, of course, but my own feeling is that the word "conservatism" has been redefined to such a great extent by the Republican Party that it is now completely free of policy implications.
There are still a lot of people who call themselves "conservatives," of course, so it's not dead. I think we should reach out to those people, many of whom lack any political party representation, and show how our pragmatic approach to government can address their concerns and move us all forward together.
Based on polling data, you have to put CO-06 in the same category as CO-04. Winter will match or beat Tancredo on fund-raising. He will be on-the-air in a few days to build name recognition, and has an extensive ground operation already underway.
CO-06 is very similar in demographics and attitudes to the northern Virginia suburbs that went blue for Tim Kaine last year.
Your question is framed in a way that doesn't really have a clear answer. Traditionally liberals and conservatives have both believed in limits to government, but they disagreed on what the priorities should be. Conservatives in the USA have placed priority on military spending, while American liberals during a certain period placed priority on social programs. While certain conservatives claimed that conservatism meant reducing overall spending, that really wasn't the truth, and I see no evidence they gave such an objective any priority. Reducing taxes obviously isn't the same thing.
Today, however, the distinction between liberals and conservatives isn't meaningful anymore. Some of the issues on this battlefield have been settled, others set aside. Today's battlefield is ideology vs pragmatism, and has more to do with our leaders' willingness to come to terms with the complexity of our world.
Republicans, representing a coalition of incompatible ideologies (neo-conservatives, nativists, economic fundamentalists, religious fundamentalists, and corporatists), want to make the world simpler by imposing some combination of these ideologies by centralized force.
Democrats embrace the complexity of the world and favor decentralized power, especially decentralized to individuals and small businesses.
Republicans think individual freedom is dangerous, while Democrats think concentrations of power (government or corporate) are dangerous.
You can get in on the ground floor of the get-out-the-vote effort in Parker. Just come to the Douglas Democrats Central Committee meeting Saturday morning, August 26, 9am-noon, at Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock. (I-25 to exit 181, then east 1 block to Wilcox, then north 1/4 mile to the library.)
We'll train you for voter registration and GOTV, and you can start canvassing the day after Labor Day. Hope to see you there!
It's true the state party didn't do much in 2004 and before. The movement toward the blue side has had more to do with the Republicans moving away from personal freedom libertarian sensibilities, and the Democrats moving into that vacuum. That's a long-term movement and it will certainly continue. (And I think a great many Democratic politicians in Colorado haven't gotten the memo yet; we have a ways to go to fully take advantage of the vacuum.)
But the change in leadership from Gates to Waak had nothing to do with ideology, just as the state Party has little influence over ideology. The change was precisely because the state party had been so ineffective in the past in basic duties such as organizing, fund-raising, recruiting, and getting out the vote. Many of us (especially those new to party activism) wanted someone with a more active agenda.
Pat has certainly accomplished a lot of what we were hoping for. For us in the county organizations, the difference between now and two years ago is night-and-day. I think in the future the state party will become relevant to election results, perhaps as early as 2006.