I can't claim any specific knowledge here and I can't say that this post counts as anything more than 2nd hand hearsay evidence but, none the less, I think it may be valuable as evidence of a trend.
Essentially this post is about the US Democratic party and its "liberal" or "progressive" base. I've met a bunch of Americans over here in Europe over the last few months. Some of them live here, others are merely visiting and all of them have got lot of friends and relatives in the US. There are two common threads I see here in their statements and they are both good news and bad news for the US Democratic party and its "liberal" or "progressive" base.
The Good News
The "Bush is a moron" and related beliefs are widespread, in fact practically universal. I find myself having to defend him to Americans. Few people think he is evil or that he is crooked, so the "Bushitler" part of the campaign failed but the "dumb Bush" part has succeeded so much that its taken as fact.
Thus you might expect that people would be willing to switch to a party that wasn't embarassingly led by a "moron". But...
The Bad News
Moron or not people agree with his "war on terror" in basic outline and they don't agree with the "root causes, its all our fault" arguments. Even those most sceptical about Iraq think that the "pottery barn rule" applies and that the US should not quit the country and most people think that the Iraq invasion was a good idea badly implemented. Ditto in recent days for Israel's fight with Hezbollah.
The Worse News
The even worse news is that the "security mom" demographic is widespread and that group will not vote for a party that is perceived as being clueless about security. Last night (and the reason why I felt like blogging this) I met a lady who I would peg as a classic 1960s era liberal from a family which she self described as historically democrat through and through. She stated that since September 11th much of her family has become republican and won't vote democrat until the democrats come up with a convincing strategy to win the war. Denying that there is a war and/or denying that militant islam is a threat is not a convincing strategy to win the war. Neither is claimng that the terrorist security scares are hoaxes done by the evil Bushitler and his poodles/minders to keep us all docile.
The Terrible News
The terrible news for the democratic party is that it can't seem to get many candidates who can support the war through primaries. Recent example Joe Lieberman, but there are others. This is a disaster because the security mom demographic (which includes security dads grandparents etc.) will not vote for someone who they judge to be weak on terror. This is cathc 22 for democratic candidates. In order to win the primary the candidate has to be publicly sceptical about the terror threat. This can then be played by the republican candidate in the run up to the election where it will scare the security mom voters unless the democrat is able to come up with a really really good way to weasel out...