"...that the party isn't willing to fight for many truly progressive policies."
Absolutely. The criticism of Obama's rolling over is well-deserved, but the fact is, Hillary had shown the same propensity (e.g. sending American troops off to die in Iraq to burnish her security credentials). And certainly, Bill Clinton did it, too with "free" trade and DOMA.
The Democratic Party has a whole seems so scared shitless of losing ANYTHING that they end up losing EVERYTHING. We can't fight for gay rights or separation of church and state or we'll be called "anti-Christian." We can't fight for workers' rights or we'll be called "class warriors." We can't fight to break up the military-industrial complex or we'll be called "unpatriotic." So, Democrats sit back as Republicans, corporations, state governments, whoever, regress our country. Democrats allow the paradigms spouted by the Republicans to go unchallenged.
It's become somehow "pragmatic" to give up the reasons you want to win so you can win. The notion that it was just social and military issues that were given up is bogus; it's economic issues, too. No only did we not advance gay rights (like ENDA), but we also didn't get the Employee Free Choice Act, movement on climate change, energy legislation, or a healthcare bill worth a damn.
Too many Democrats have bought into the "big tent" mantra, thinking that we'll somehow get progress by welcoming into our party people who'll stand in the way of progress. We'll never get a message out there by having our own reinforcing the other side's message and distracting us from ours.
Yep. Waves end up washing away many who should not have lost, largely because of the letter after their name. The key to stopping this is to not allow the wave to happen (which means having an effective party that can turnout its base and that has an effective message).
I was waiting for some asshole to come along and start scapegoating the left. No, dear, this loss is due to the ConDems dragging their feet, preventing the massive Democratic majorities from being used to solve problems, bolstering Republican talking points, and destroying the Democratic Party from within.
Tearing down your party's leaders (eg. Pelosi and Obama) and bringing down his ratings, tearing down your party's prevailing ideology and proposals while reinforcing the otherside's views, obstructing your the president of your party and making him look ineffective, destroying your party's message, and preventing your party from getting things done is going to kill you and drag down a lot of your party's other members.
Not only will many voters take it out on you and your party directly, but the other party will smell blood and run far more credible, far better funded candidates than usual, which itself will bring down your totals. Talking about pork and how "moderate" you are will likely not save you. "Independent" members of an ineffective/unpopular party were generally not spared last Tuesday, nor were they in 2008, 2006, or 1994.
We're in danger of losing good Democrats like Feingold, Boxer, Carol Shea-Porter, Steve Kagan, Grayson, Tom Perriello, etc. because the sabotage of the ConDems and Obama's general ineffectiveness at leadership, messaging, and taking it to the Republicans.
Oh, I agree. It's long past time for Democratic leaders to quit enabling the ConDems just as it's long past time for the Democratic electorate to quit voting for them. But I think the ConDems deserve the first axe stroke.
The ConDems are the problem. We were riding high going into last year: popular president, huge majorities in both houses of Congress, swing state Republicans had already started retiring (e.g. Gregg, Martinez, Voinovich, Bond).
But then the ConDems showed their collective ass, dragged out healthcare reform, climate change legislation, etc., dragging down Obama's/Democrats' poll numbers, destroying Democratic messaging, disenchanting the people that voted Democratic (while Republicans became fired up from both their apparent victories and rage at even the suggestion of HCR, ENDA, etc). The ConDems did this same shit with Bill Clinton. So, the ConDems have to go. Even if it means losing seats.