A short answer to the question of why we lost: Bush had more room for error. The Republicans had the stronger hand and played it well. The Democrats had the weaker hand and played it pretty well. The stronger trumps the weaker and well trumps pretty well. To put it another way, Kerry’s challenge was to do everything right. He didn’t. So he lost.
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It's a good analysis. We need new leadership at many levels in the Democratic Party. Initial returns have me giving Harry Ried the benefit of the doubt, but the DNC chairmanship will be critical. Write to your Congressnudnik and tell 'em you want them to vote for Howard Dean.