04/04/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Instant America

Martha Coakley had barely conceded when Rahm Emanuel publicly lashed out at her, her pollster, Celinda Lake, and Emily's List. (BTW, does anyone remember the same kind of tongue lashing when the male candidates, who, as I recall, were not described as great by anyone, and their male consultants lost in NJ and VA?)

After a night's sleep, the White House and numerous members of Congress declared a reassessment of heath care as a priority. (Did it not occur to anyone that voters weren't voting against the substance of health care but the style of creating health care reform?)

A few days later, a new polling strategy was announced -- that is, poll early enough to figure out if a candidate is in trouble. (Who needs to poll? Isn't virtually every incumbent in a marginal district in trouble? It's not whether, it is why that need to be understood.)

Not long after, there was a plea for bipartisanship. (Because a successful election will change the Republican behavior? Guess not, because it turns out that the current definition of bipartisanship seems to be to parrot Republican priorities.)

Almost simultaneously, Congressional Democratic moderates went straight to the media to declare that Democrats can only succeed by moving to the middle -- a kind of weird bipartisanship of its own: become aligned with Republican views in order for Democrats to be reelected. (Was that because Attorney General Martha Coakley or Creigh Deeds were, or portrayed themselves, as raving liberals?)

Then came acknowledgment that something has to be done about the deficit, so a budget freeze was announced. (The question here is how could anyone have missed this particular voter anxiety and then come up with a budget freeze that infuriated both the left and the right.)

Instant analysis, instant reaction, instant tactics to meet the perceived American voter need for instant gratification. Missing in all this calculus were some old-fashioned Democratic values and political principles. It felt like everyone was frantically polling and then responding in sound bites question by question minute by minute. And no one seemed aware that election day is nine months away.

Could it be that voters are looking for politicians who make clear their beliefs, act on their ideas, and make them happen? The tea baggers, who are responsible for some on the MA aftermath, like their candidates straightforward. Would voters reject candidates whose philosophy is the antithesis of tea baggers but who clearly articulate and act on their beliefs?

Most important, instant everything results in no coherent plan for America and leaves voters with nothing they believe will lift the country and improve their lives. My former boss wrote a book, A Country that Works, the basic theme of which was "America needs a plan, a uniquely American plan." It would be a good anthem for America's politicians instead of the anthem we now have, which seems to be, "America, Home Tweet Home."