My recollection of the conventional wisdom as to what caused Democrats to get destroyed in the 1994 mid-term election was:
1. raising taxes
2. supporting gun control
3. failed attempt on healthcare
4. support for gays in the military
5. unpopular President
I generally agree, and think as a party we shouldn't repeat this history.
We've already committed to raising taxes it's just a matter of how much and on whom.
Unfortunately, Democrats are looking to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and replace it with something more left wing. Bad move.
It seems there's always a reason why healthcare reform gets more complicated and delayed.
The President's ratings are tetering between barely o.k. and bad.
Here's a reasonable plan. For this post I won't even offer what is best policy-wise, but deal within the realm of the possible.
1. continue avoiding the gun issue. While I support gun control because it works, the political intensity on the issue favors the right wing. Save it for the second term.
2. 2010 should be about jobs. Building things that matter. Rebuilding America and Haiti would be a good start. Take the returned bailout funds and either through direct loans to businesses or loan guarantees let thousands of people try out their ideas at a new or expanded business. Make sure every loan or grant will ensure added jobs.
3. Finish healthcare before the State of the Union. Speed up some of the benefits. Add more jobs to the bill. For instance, computerizing all medical records right now.
4. Cut taxes for businesses that hire new people. This in addition to new loans will spur the economy. Some of the businesses will thrive and be the backbone of a recovery.
5. Leave the military DADT policy alone. There should be a ban on people who are openly gay in military. If you must change it, do it after the mid-term.