How the Democrats could avoid blowing it, maybe

With the Republicans falling apart, it's pretty clear that 2006 is the best opportunity the Dems are going to get for a while to take back the Senate and a good chunk of seats in the House. What they need to do that is something like the Gingrichites' 'Contract with America' -- a platform that would turn a bunch of disparate House races into a national campaign.

What should this platform contain?

1. Capitalize on W.'s record. This writes itself.
We stand for:
-- a government that's got its shit sufficiently together to help you when your entire city is getting flooded;
-- catching people who fly planes into American buildings;
-- saving Social Security (from both insolvency and privatization).

2. Take advantage of the Democrats' outsider status. Republicans run on reformist antigovernment issues even as they vastly expand programs and slush funds for their ideological and political allies. Democrats tend to get defensive about "big government," which makes them sound like the party of the status quo even when they're in the minority. They need to run on things like:
-- balancing the budget, for a return to the prosperity of the Clinton era;
-- cleaning up the cesspool of corruption that is Washington DC;
-- not wasting your tax dollars on no-bid contracts, illegal political propaganda, etc.

3. 'A smarter War on Terror.' It seems clear that Bush & Co. aim to pull substantial numbers of troops out of Iraq before the midterms, to deprive the Dems of that issue. But I think there will still be mileage in something like, 'Real homeland security, not just randomly invading countries we don't like.'

Admittedly, much of the phrasing needs to be tweaked. But that's what you have pollsters for.