Stephanie Taylor argued that President Obama and the Democrats must be more boldly progressive; Rep. Jim Matheson argued that the path back to victory lies in the political center. Here's a sample of reader reaction:
I tend to agree with the observations of Rep. Jim Matheson. I see his presentation as realistic and as one which would probably stand up fairly well to a fact audit. I tend to see Stephanie Taylor as out of touch with reality—as are Nancy Pelosi and President Obama. Loss of moderate politicians in this last election is a disaster.
DONALD GROTH Yakima, Wash.
Democrats lost because they went too far with the big-government, statist, progressive agenda; not the other way around. The American people gave the [Democrats] a chance in 2006 to make things better. They did not. So they got voted out of office. Now the Republicans have a chance. If they fail also, they'll also get voted out. Reading anything more into it is just spin.
STEVEN TAYLOR Denison, Texas
Being more boldly progressive will not change a thing as long as there are so many in the electorate who think everything from the left is a new incursion on liberties, more big government, more tax-and-spend, more regulation of business, and more liberalization of moral standards. The right has, through massively successful manipulation of public opinion, turned "liberalism" into a dirty word. The battle won't be won by the left without far better marketing and public relations preceding every attempt at change. Howard Dean and Barack Obama knew this, but ever since Obama's victory in 2008, all tactics to win the hearts and minds of the electorate have been abandoned in favor of abrupt policy change and the creation of programs the right has had no problem shooting down. The irony is that people want healthcare reform, want Social Security and Medicare preserved, want compassionate government, and want an end to wars and the immense expense involved in them. Fooling enough of the people enough of the time, though, has worked to make them think otherwise, and we're all losers as a result.
RON SMITH Providence, Utah
Blue Dog Democrats have been the undoing of the Democratic Party. Why did so many of them lose in November? People didn't bother to go out and vote for them because they felt that they are DINOs [Democrats In Name Only]. Stop trying to appease the party of no.
ROGER CRAWFORD Stony Run, Pa.
I've heard enough about how this election proves that the Democrats need to move more to the right. If we could just get our president and the Democratic Party (including the Blue Dogs who write such miserable op-eds) to hear us, the members of the Democratic Party, they may realize that they've been taken out behind the woodshed for a whipping by their own members. Our party has a much better history than this toothless aberration that is in place in the White House and the Blue Dog Congress. We're trying to change that. Party pols need to get their collective heads out of the sand.
LINDA WOODWARD Puyallup, Wash.
The so-called center—Blue Dogs included—is now so far to the right that the truly reactionary pre-Teddy Roosevelt politics of the far-right radicals seem reasonable (and that's freakin' scary). This isn't amnesia on the part of the "informed" right. They want to go back to when big money ruled—indeed we're already there—and the little folks kept their mouths shut and did as they were told.
Richard Lehman Johnstown, Pa.
Matheson makes no sense at all. If moderates helped Obama win, where were they in 2010 when Blue Dogs got swept out to sea? If most progressives kept their seats, why did Blue Dogs lose? Can the message be any clearer? It's beyond me how any straight-faced Democrat can possibly still push for a Blue Dog approach.
TOBI DRAGERT Los Angeles