I just went to The Daily Kos and read a discussion thread about Howard Dean. I detected a lot of "screw it...we're tired of getting steamrolled by these holier-than-thou self-righteous jerks (re: the Repugs)" reactions from people who acted like it's high time that somebody talked straight about all things political.
Let me say this...I admire Howard Dean a great deal. If it weren't for him, the Democrats would have virtually no spine at all. But he can't keep telling everyone that he thinks the majority of Republicans are crooks, even if it's true. That kind of talk assumes that the Democrats have some kind of locked-in base towards whom Dean and other leadership types can toss red meat whenever they want, and that is definitely not true.
The Democrats, rightly and wrongly, have been losing ground among their traditional base constituencies for years. I see some people in the party who have some answers for some issues, but I still don't see everyone pulling together. Of course, they're better than they were (the convention last year was a great show of unity), but that's still not good enough to beat the Repug organization...yet.
Dean is definitely not Bill Clinton, but he has to find a way to take a page out of Clinton's book and reach out to people who used to be Democrats who feel nothing but resentment to the party now. Some of these people are just plain gone, but some of them can be reached. And crying about the media echo chamber favoring the Republicans isn't going to help either. Yep, the whole game is rigged against the Dems and could keep them in minority party status for awhile, unfortunately (though I definitely would hate to see that).
The Dems can get back on their feet in two ways: 1) Hammer the Repugs over and over concerning the fact that the voters of this country gave them the keys to Dad's roadster, and all the Repugs did was drive it off a cliff, 2) Don't leave off at that and come up with some better vision of how things should be that involves grass-roots activism and not a solution that can be easily attacked as "more big government."
If they need any help concerning ideas, all the Dems have to do is check out David Sirota's blog. He comes up with new stuff in this area every day.