Democrats Mull Fundamental Changes In Wake Of Election Day Losses
ABC World News Tonight reported, "This election has shaken the Democratic Party to its core." In the wake of John Kerry's lose of the presidential race and their loss of seats in the House and Senate, Democrats are puzzling over their failures and examining their options. The Wall Street Journal reports in a front page story that "influential party insiders are mobilizing a debate that's likely to center on a few difficult questions: Should the Democrats seek national success by moving to the left, as many party faithful demand? Or should they shift rightward, which is where the election suggests the country is? And will their leader be a liberal, such as former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean or Sen. Hillary Clinton, or the more centrist Sen. John Edwards or some fresh face from Congress or the ranks of Democratic governors?" The Washington Post reports that many Democratic leaders "focused on the need to re-engage their party with church-going and rural constituencies they acknowledge ignoring in the past." A "quickly emerging consensus yesterday across the Democrats' ideological spectrum" was "that they 'have to take the time to understand the concerns of rural families and Christian families,' as Clinton White House chief of staff Leon E. Panetta put it." Columnist Al Hunt writes in the Wall Street Journal (11/4), "Conversations yesterday suggested despondency among Democrats unequaled in contemporary times. This seems true of much of the rank and file as well as political elites."
Hillary Clinton Seen As Democrats' Top 2008 Prospect.
With John Kerry's defeat, the New York Times reports Hillary Rodham Clinton is "the top prospect for the presidential nomination in 2008." Democrats "in and out of Washington are mentioning Mrs. Clinton, the junior senator from New York, as the leading contender for the party's nomination in 2008, citing her immense popularity among Democrats, her fund-raising prowess and her formidable political operation, which was employed, unsuccessfully, in the Kerry presidential bid." Other "potential Democratic stars" include Gov. Bill Richardson, Gov. Tom Vilsack, and John Edwards. The Wall Street Journal editorial page, which has had harsh words for Mrs. Clinton in the past, editorialized, "Democrats may also take the lesson that a political strategy which invites Americans to share in their contempt for the President's intelligence, moral values and religious beliefs basically, the Al Gore sighing technique writ large is not a winner." The "person on whom the task of moral normalization may fall is Hillary Rodham Clinton, now the most prominent Democrat in the Senate and arguably the party's front-runner for President in 2008."
Columnist Says Gore Is Democrats' Best Hope. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen says "the perfect Democratic presidential candidate" is "someone from the South or the border states, since John Kerry lost virtually the entire region on Tuesday, and someone who is comfortable talking the language of religion and values, since John Kerry was not, and someone whose wife is identified with conventional values, and, last, someone who took a very early position against the war in Iraq, which John Kerry did not. Such a person already exists and, as luck would have it, has a name: Al Gore."