Tips for the Democrats
Generally I'm not one to dispense advice to political opponents, but I've got a suggestion or two for the Democrats today. I regard them as "opponents" only because their tendency has been to oppose, oppose, oppose everything the Bush Administration has put forward and not put forth any alternative suggestions. In that respect, they're a hindrance to the advance of the political interests of the United States.
The first thing the Democrats can do to make some gains in the November mid-terms is to focus their opposition to the Administration on its Iraq policy and provide a reconceptualization of the War on Terror. Quite rightly, Colin Powell warned back in 2002 that allies would perceive a shift of American strategy to Iraq to be a "bait-and-switch" in the new conflict, expanding it to incorporate anti-democratic regimes that may or may not have connections to terrorism and other areas central to American security. This has resulted in the War on Terror being expanded to include a War on Tyranny. The Democrats have been opposing the Iraq war but not advocating a staunch return to the initial conception of the War on Terror, a conflict that did have the majority of America's traditional allies on its side, and continues to be a major area of concern because of successful attacks in Bali, Madrid, London, and elsewhere; and because of terrorist cells popping up in Canada and the United States, placing the threat very close to home.
Democrats have a winning issue sitting in their laps that they have failed to exploit to the fullest: Afghanistan. A lot of resources were diverted from the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in order to deploy them to Iraq, leaving the job in the war's initial front only half-finished. There are still regular attacks occurring against civilians, coalition allies, and Americans in various pockets of Afghanistan. The Democrats can jump on this reality and use it as a plank to counter arguments that they're "soft on the War on Terror" and have gone wobbly on American security. By pushing for a stronger, more dedicated commitment to Afghanistan, they can appeal to the hawks who want to go out and smash terrorists that desire to kill Americans, and leave Bush's Iraq flank open to more legitimate scrutiny. They need to go out and separate the two issues and go back to basics. If they don't, and remain divided and floundering, they're going to get their clocks cleaned in November, leaving the legislative, executive, and judiciary all tilting towards the Republicans.