Trippi wrote an interesting op-ed in today's WSJ. He analyzes the results of the 2004 race, and makes some recommendations.
He gets the awful performance of the party pretty much right, but his prescription is lousy. He wants the party to become more of a grassroots organization - in structure and in policy.
I disagree: The Dems should not move away from the DLC center of the party (the southern moderates who have brought them their only presidential wins since WW2) and get back to their base - those wacky Lefties who turn out for the primaries.
Trippi blames the steady Democrat losses in the Congress on the DLC-center - committing a logical fallacy: he is ascribing causation to a coincidence. NEED PROOF!? Well, in EVERY CASE the Democrat who lost a seat in Congress lost it to someone more to the right than he. SO... if Democrats nominate more candidates who are also more to the Left (to satisfy their base) they will only do EVEN WORSE!
As far as the presidential races are concerned: The Democrats must undo the McGovern era "reforms" to the nominating process and un-frontload the primaries (a stupid thing done by moneyman McAuliffe). IOW: they have to take the party away from the Left and give it back to the adults in the middle. They should maybe even go to OPEN PRIMARIES.
They must do these things because America will never EVER elect a Leftist. And any process which increases the likelihood that the Democrats will nominate a Leftist will only hasten the demise of the party. As Zell Miller has so clearly been saying since he nominated Bill Clinton in 1992 - and as he wrote in his GREAT BOOK: A NATIONAL PARTY NO MORE!
There's also a great post and thread up at the GREAT SITE POLIPUNDIT on this.
The core problem is that the Democrat Party is historically merely a coalition of disparate interest groups (each seeking to suck at the federal teat), and not a cohesive party of ideas and values, (as the GOP has been since the Civil War). And all that is left of this once great Democrat coalition is the vestigial urban machine. This will never be enough to win nationally. So the Democrats must BROADEN their appeal. That means expand BEYOND THE BASE!
This then is the battle within the Democrat Party: between the DLC and the Left. The Left won the party and the nomination in 2004 - and lost everything else. Another election like that, and it's all over for them...