The moderate wing of the Democratic party, embodied by the Democratic Leadership Council, has begun trying to make sense of the 2004 elections. Some of the analysis is pretty laughable, but some is insightful.

Peter Ross Range’s “analysis” mostly consists of saying, “See, being liberal is bad!” and, “Oh, if only we could compromise our values even more, we’d win for sure next time!” But there are some interesting policy ideas in Will Marshall’s piece, and some important electoral reform points in Ed Kilgore’s piece. Check them out:

Lessons for Liberals

By Peter Ross Range
“I have resolved to search for solutions that take into account both ends of the spectrum. I resolve to support ideas that respond to the needs and beliefs of all. I want to find solutions to conflict, not just reinforce my position.”


By Ed Kilgore
The American political system is badly broken. That’s both a challenge and an opportunity for Democrats. They should lead the charge to fix it.

Thinking Bigger

By Will Marshall
Liberated by defeat, Democrats should now reach boldly for some big ideas that will shake the party out its intellectual torpor and give skeptical voters a reason to give them a second look.

Meanwhile, Simon Rosenberg, President of the New Democrat Network addressed the Association of State Democratic Chairs in Orlando, FL, this week and had some interesting comments for the assembly:

Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century
Remarks by Simon Rosenberg in Orlando, 12/11/2004

Where We Are
Analysis by Simon Rosenberg

And finally, Gov. Howard Dean has been writing and speaking about the future of the Democratic Party and returning to our core values:

On the Future of the Democratic Party
Remarks at Geo. Washington Univ., 12/08/2004

Democratic Moral Values
From a Series of Columns by Gov. Dean

I’m still digesting these materials (or in the case of the Peter Ross Range’s white flag and handwringing, hoping it doesn’t come back up in Exorcist-style projectile vomit). I’m hearing a lot of talk about how the problems in 2004 were about style, and Democrats lack thereof, rather than our substance, or lack thereof.

There may be something to the argument that if we’d presented a better case to the American people, the outcome would have been different. But it seems to me that there’s got to be some “there” there with which to build a case. Right now, only Gov. Dean, and to some extent Simon Rosenberg, are talking about core values and how to communicate them in a more resonant way. I want to hear more from both.

At any rate, it’s important to give these differing ideas a seat at the table. They are important parts of the debate within the Democratic Party. Which ideas will carry the day? That depends on us all.