There has been much talk these past two weeks about the GOP needing to alter course in order to remain viable in the future. Given that President “Obama got reelected because he enjoys a degree of personal popularity disconnected from his record“, Abe Greenwald, just days after the debacle, contended that Democrats too have to engage in some soul-searching:
The president’s reelection is not evidence of a new liberal America, but rather of the illogical and confused experience that is infatuation. For multiple reasons, Americans continue to have a crush on Barack Obama even after his universally panned first term. No longer quite head over heels, they’re at the “I know he’s no good for me, but I can change him” phase. Whatever this means, it surely doesn’t suggest conservatives would be wise to move closer to policies that aren’t even popular among Obama supporters.
Read (and consider) the whole thing. Obama may have won the election, but most of the intellectual energy is on the opposite side of the political aisle, with the Republican Party having many more leaders committed to reform that the Democrats. Noting those many Republican “up-and-comers“, Jennifer Rubin asks
Do the Democrats pine for a President Biden or a President Clinton ? (The latter’s future, I suppose, depends in part on how long a trail of foreign policy bungles she leaves behind.) Biden will be 74 four years from now and Clinton, 69. Not unfit for service, but hardly fresh faces or innovative figures.
More to the point, without Obama, and more important, without Romney, what do and will Democrats believe in? Big government and debt? We really don’t know since Obama has run two races about nothing, and aside from climate control (anti-coal and gas production) and tax hikes on the rich, we don’t know much about his economic agenda or whether there is something approaching an economic revival agenda.
The challenge for the Democratic Party, as opposed to that of the president, is to figure out if it can win presidential elections without bogeymen and attract the broader coalition that Obama cobbled together in 2008 when he had the luxury of running as a blank slate.
Will future Democrats be able to, like Obama, to trash their opponents while running a race on nothing? Or will voters ask them to specify their agenda?
More on this anon, I hope.