By Paddy McGuire of Portland, Oregon. Paddy describes himself as a "washed-up political hack." [Yeah, but he's much more than that - former leader of the state Democrats, Clinton appointee, and our deputy secretary of state. -Editor.]
I despair for my party. We got beat fair and square and I have to wonder if we can elect a Democratic President in this country.
But rather than wallow in the anguish of this day and of the mandate that the President received yesterday, I'd like to offer my thoughts on what it takes for us to win in four years. Here's the start of my list:
1. Enough of the Massachusetts liberals. John Kerry, Paul Tsongas, Michael Dukakis, Ted Kennedy. Not a good streak. The Republicans have figured out how to demonized New England liberals in Middle America and we have to stop playing into their hand.
2. Look South. The last three Democrats to win the White House were moderates from the Confederacy. When we begin a national campaign by conceding 134 electoral votes (the Confederacy without Florida), we make the margin for error in the rest of the country incredibly small.
3. Figure out how to appeal in Middle America. We know how to win here on the left coast and the Northeast. But let's face it: Michael Moore scares people. Average Americans think that Moore, Barbra Streisand and their Hollywood buddies control our party and that scares them.
4. Being pissed off is not enough. We have to give people hope. Regular people in the middle of the country believed that Bill Clinton cared about them, understood their problems and would work to make their lives better.
5. Likeability matters. Regular people have not liked our last two nominees. They believe that George Bush is like them and understands them.
We have to figure this out -- we must.