Jonathan Alter writes in Newsweek that the Democrats may have a plan. The Plan: Big Ideas for America is a book by former Clinton aides Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Reed:
The strategy for getting swing-district voters to fire their incumbents is already taking shape. Just as Harry Truman ran against the “Do-Nothing Congress,” Democrats will run against the “Rubber-Stamp Congress,” which pimped for K Street, took a dive on its critical oversight duties (particularly on Iraq) and helped the president bankrupt the country by shoveling money toward the rich. Emanuel won’t say yet which votes supporting Bush he plans to wrap around the necks of incumbents. But look for gut-punch ads that highlight the incumbents’ 90-plus percent backing for Bush on issues like cuts in college loans and veterans benefits, privatizing Social Security, selling out to Big Pharma on prescription drugs and halting stem-cell research. Republicans are now scurrying away from Bush, but it may be too late. They can’t take those roll-call votes back.
While bloggers question why they are often not taken seriously by the party establishment, the answer may be seen here. While Emanuel and Reed are writing books on policy (and Harry Reid has sent out a strategy memo based upon national security), bloggers remain distracted by Feingold’s call for censure even when it distracts from the real issues. In contrast, “Emanuel knows that if Democrats turn the election into a referendum on how to punish Bush (censure, impeachment) instead of on the Bush record, they’ll get clobbered.”
To win, Democrats must give voters a reason to vote for them beyond hating Bush.