Let me jump onto the really big political question currently being asked in America today.
Why did the Democrats lose in 2004? Seeing the forest published a truly excellent explanation.
The argument presented (as I see it very roughly) is that the Democrats have represented the commonly accepted values, desires and needs of most Americans, so their main function as a political party has traditionally been to develop and implement the necessary government policies and procedures to implement those values, desires and needs. In current terms, this makes the best of them very wonkish individuals. They accept the existing values and needs of society and so focus on the government actions needed to achieve those values and needs.
Conservative Republicans do not hold those same values, desires and needs, so they have in the past been generally less successful at getting control of government and blocking the politics and procedures the Democrats were installing.
So the Conservative Republicans have developed a set of institutions designed to attack and replace the commonly accepted values, desires and needs of most Americans with those of a minority group. These new institutions are the right-wing think tanks and large segments of the current American mass media. Using these institutions as a base, they have taken over political control of the Republican Party and now have taken over control of the Federal government and many state governments. The article describes this as “marketing” their ideas, then building politically on the success of such marketing.
Since the Democrats have been a party that provided political expression of the already held values, desires and needs of the majority of Americans, they have not had institutions in place to change those values, desires and needs. The result has been a group of Democratic policy-wonks going into elections against the Republican values-wonks, and trying to compete with simplistic emotion-laden political slogans as policies with complex arcane and hard to understand but logically supported proposed government programs.
I find the argument compelling, since it has been my position that the Democratic Party has been losing elections because it is not organized to win them. This argument provides a guide to what new forms of organization are required for Democrats to again start winning elections.
Go read the article and see first if I have done it justice and second if you agree that it is a guide to what new organization initiatives (think tanks and public relations efforts – get our guys on TV and radio) will make our values again the proper guide to what our government does in our name and for us.