No circular firing squads please; it is too late to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Let's prepare for the future.
1. Repair Our Base
Where do we go from here? First, let's reopen the Democratic Party and this administration. We should realize after this election that while our base "has nowhere else to go"; they may exercise their option to go nowhere. As one gay voter, who stayed home this election, told me, I always know where the Republicans stand; they say it loud and clear. He implied that the support of the gay community was taken for granted. Whether true or not, that is the perception of many constituencies within the Democratic Party. This perception must be addressed and repaired. Listening and addressing the base's concerns are a must. Notice, I didn't say caving into the base's every whim but rather demonstrating that the constituents' many, varied and often contradictory views are being considered. The middle road led to waffling and confusion. The American people know that the nation is in bad shape. New York Times' Bob Herbert says it well:
Op-Ed Columnist, The Impossible Dream, by Bob Herbert, Published: November 8, 2010
...The U.S. is in sad shape, and most of the policy prescriptions being tossed around by the movers and shakers are bad ones.
To get a sense of how deeply entrenched the problems are, consider what passes for good news these days. The economy added 151,000 jobs last month, which was more than most economists had expected. But even at that rate of job growth, it would take 15 to 20 years to get the employment rate back to where it was when the Great Recession began in December 2007. ..
2. Lead. Leadership is demanded and required.
Answer the questions: "Where do we need to go and what will it take to get there?". The Federal government needs to be shaken up from top to bottom. This administration and the Democratic Party will not be attacked as much on the economy. The House is now part of that problem. Rather President Obama and the Democrats will be attacked on administration. The perception exists that the Federal government is little improved from the Bush years and, if anything, may be less efficient. President Obama will be portrayed as an inefficient caretaker rather than a leader and innovator if Republican leadership has its way.
The Republican Party and right wing media know the problems within the administration and will identify more. They can be expected to highlight every one of them in a steady fashion. Not just the really egregious ones like the billion dollar plus cost overrun to create a less than average medical center at the New Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. But also the sorry performance affecting military medical care from family support to PTSD/TBI treatment and suicide prevention. Every little procurement program and example of mismanagement from the VA and DoD to Agriculture and Education will be exposed and declared incompetent and mismanaged.
President Obama should demonstrate he recognizes the need to restore competence to the Federal Government. The American people want a streamlined and more responsive government. This is an issue that Americans will embrace. Taking action disarms the looming attacks from Republicans and conservatives while actually producing visible results. The raw materials to a streamlining and reorganization of the federal bureaucracy exists. A tremendous amount of Democratic, and even Republican, human capital was freed up in the current election cycle. Talent specifically geared toward better government which can be targeted at specific sectors. Agriculture, national security, education and healthcare experts are available to energize the effort. The legislative expertise exists to tailor and shepherd through Congress any required legislation on a bipartisan basis.
Time to embrace the action and change we so often talk about.