We've seen glimpses of it here in Minnesota. Patty Wetterling drops out of a Senate race that she can not win and drops back into the 6th CD race and draws the wrath of candidate El Tinklenberger and the DFL grass roots. Colleen Rowley, the DNC "chosen one" running in the 2nd CD (against Rep John Kline) stumbles so badly that State Senator Sharon Marko files to run against her in the primary. Amy Klobuchar is being dogged by Ford Bell for the DFL Senatorial endorsement amid cries of "queenmaking". We have 5 DFL candidates all fighting for the opportunity to run against Governor Pawlety and at least 2 are determined to take it to a primary fight.
Now the fractions are spreading nationwide. Sen Barbara Boxer is begging Mother Sheehan to not run against Senator Dianne Feinstein. House and Senate leadership is reeling and then comes this from the NY Times. You know things are bad when the DNC's main cheerleader is asking "what is wrong?"
"Democrats are heading into this year's elections in a position weaker than they had hoped for, party leaders say, stirring concern that they are letting pass an opportunity to exploit what they see as widespread Republican vulnerabilities.
In interviews, senior Democrats said they were optimistic about significant gains in Congressional elections this fall, calling this the best political environment they have faced since President Bush took office.
But Democrats described a growing sense that they had failed to take full advantage of the troubles that have plagued Mr. Bush and his party since the middle of last year, driving down the president's approval ratings, opening divisions among Republicans in Congress over policy and potentially putting control of the House and Senate into play in November."
No guys, the problem is not that you have failed to take advantage of "troubles" plaguing the President. Your problem is that these "failings" of the President's are not seen as failings (NSA surveillance for example) with the heartland. You try to claim innocence in the so-called "culture of corruption" when your ranking Senator is under investigation for taking the same kind of money you are hammering Republicans on.
"Democrats said they had not yet figured out how to counter the White House's long assault on their national security credentials. (ed - here's a hot tip guys - listening in on the bad guys conversation is GOOD national security and you are against it!) And they said their opportunities to break through to voters with a coherent message on domestic and foreign policy — should they settle on one (emphasis added) — were restricted by the lack of an established, nationally known leader to carry their message this fall. "
OUCH! Even the Times see the problem here.
"Some Democrats said they favored remaining largely on the sidelines while Republicans struggled under the glare of a corruption inquiry. And some said there was still time for the party to get its act together. But many others said the party needed to move quickly to offer a comprehensive governing agenda, even as they expressed concern about who could make the case. "
And while the leadership sits on the sidelines, smart leaders like Senator Obama (IL) and Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen are left crying in the wilderness.
""We're selling our party short; you've got to stand for a lot more than just blasting the other side," said Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee. "The country is wide open to hear some alternatives, but I don't think it's wide open to all these criticisms. "
I said at the time that Howard Dean was the best thing to happen to the RNC and so far things are looking good. We can not let our guard down, but right now it looks like the DFL and the DNC are going to continue to implode. We need to be ready to take advantage of it when it happens.