Will the Democrats win — and then blow it?

Very astute column by Martin Kettle.

The aftermath of November 7 will also pose a larger political challenge for the Democrats. The 2006 midterms will be best understood as an Iraq-led defeat for the Republicans, and for the president in particular, rather than as a victory for the Democrats. Americans will express their disillusion with the conduct of the war by electing Democrats in larger numbers than before. But this does not mean that the Democrats can be confident that they speak for America on other issues. If they want to crown this comeback by recapturing the White House in 2008, the Democrats must be clever, careful and clear.

The danger is that too many Democrats will draw the wrong message about themselves from their victory. It’s very easy to beat up on the Democrats for their many recent failings, ironically not least on Iraq, and sometimes those criticisms go impossibly over the top. Yet Tuesday may lull the party into thinking they are suddenly more in tune with American opinion on issues other than Iraq than they really are. The perils of blundering into excessive partisanship over the next two years are enormous. The process of fixing the Democratic party that Bill Clinton started a decade ago remains unfinished business. Yet somehow it needs to go on…

You bet. One of things that was truly appalling in the last Presidential election was how intellectually bankrupt the Democrats were. I still have no idea what they really stand for — and nor do they.