Bill Bradley has an op-ed in the NYT in which he looks at the reasons for the Republicans' successes since Goldwater's defeat in 1964. As Gerry Daly notes, Bradley makes some astute observations but doesn't see that his own party contains many of the same elements: wealthy donors, think tanks, political strategists and pundits, etc., all contributing to the success of an individual Presidential candidate.
For some reason, Daly doesn't go all the way to demonstrate how much Bradley is the victim of a classic error in intelligence work, the "mirroring" fallacy. I have mentioned in other posts on politics how the GOP is more feudal in nature in its focus on particular candidates, whereas the DFL is an alliance of clearly defined interest groups such as labor unions, GLBT activists, feminists und so weiter. Study after study has shown how at the national level the GOP is far more reliant on small contributors than the Democrats, who can count on massive injections of cash and workers from the labor unions. The GOP has no such large body of people who can be mobilized, and it's an open question as to whether the army of volunteers Rove and the national party mobilized in support of W last fall will be an ongoing force in the party or just a bunch of sunshine soldiers answering the call for a single season.
Similarly, for all the howling about Richard Mellon Scaife, the GOP has no counterpart to George Soros, who seemingly funded half the loony left 527 groups out there, and continues to fund the most crazed bloggers on the left.
There are issues the Democrats can win on, but if they really want to be more like the GOP (in terms of winning) they need to quit relying on the unions, the poverty pimps, the feminists and the Trustafarians to build and fund their party for them. MoveOn.org is a good start, but they need to be more inclusive and accept that people are not going to buy the whole platform - but it doesn't make them less valuable as allies. This is what has held the Christain conservatives and the libertarians together with the pro-war moderates...we're all willing to sacrifice some of our concerns in order to elect candidates who are serious about fighting the war on terror. Until the Democrats start being less concerned with ideological purity and more concerned with broadening their base of support, they're going to keep losing at the polls. It's too bad Bill Bradley doesn't get that, because it's not good for the GOP to have second-rate opposition - it makes us weak.
Via Professor Althouse.