to forget the general erection ...

Folks, let me tell you something about the politics of getting elected. Very simply, it comes down to money. When you outraise your opponent, you have a 96 percent chance of winning. This is why some incumbents in congress (like, say, house speaker Dennis Hastert) raise $600,000 to their opponent's $16,000. Very clearly, if the playing field were leveled, the makeup of our allegedly representative government would take on a markedly different look.

This is why democrats in the U.S. need to take a long, hard look at what their party of choice has been doing since the Reagan Years. It's not so much the Republicans having access to more or deeper funding (they don't) as it's the democrats' reluctance (or downright refusal) to acknowledge the relationship between winning the fundrasing game and winning elections. At best, this is evidence they play the game not to lose, as opposed to playing to win. At worse, this is evidence the party is tremendously out of touch with contemporary campaigning.

During the recent presidential election campaign, the democrats spent an inordinate amount of money to conduct decidedly undemocratic activities: blocking Ralph Nader from ballots in several states and spearheading efforts to keep Nader out of the presidential debates. Interestingly enough, the only time John Kerry led in pre-election polls since the conventions, his campaign had the fundraising edge. When the incumbent again pulled ahead of the challenger, the polls reflected this.

So, it wasn't a mandate from the masses. Rather, it was the product of poor campaigning -- more specifically, of poor fundraising.