Can Dems Put the Ball in the Hoop?

05/11/2005 12:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

48 percent. That's what a Democratic Presidential candidate gets for just not being George W. Bush. That is just enough for the Democrats to accumulate to ensure permanent minority status in both houses of Congress. Meanwhile, the President is wallowing in a post-election funk that hovers around the mid-40s for job approval and the right direction for the nation. The nation is at gridlock, checkmate, entropy.

Each side is talking to its base -- it's loudest, most committed voters. Neither side is trying to re-create the Great Middle, then make an appeal to this very important group. That requires new ideas. The President is relying on the free market for tax cuts and social security reform. The Democrats are merely playing defense. To their credit, the Democrats are playing this defense well. The GOP may very well lose on personal accounts, on John Bolton's nomination, and on the so-called nuclear option to get up and down votes on judicial nominees.

But what are the Democrats offering to the American people? Where is their plan? They are merely reactive. The Republicans produce the ideas, the Democrats merely react by saying no. If we examine the last several months' offerings from the great liberal magazines, all we see is criticism of the President, criticism of the GOP leadership, criticism of the religious Right, criticism of fellow Democrats, just plain criticism -- without one goddamned new idea to appeal to the middle class and the non-ideological middle.

Good defense may be enough to stop the other team from scoring, but in order to win -- to continue the sports metaphor -- you gotta be able to put the ball in the hoop.

Here's my challenge to my fellow bloggers: comb this country and find me a Democratic idea that is new and that works.