In this, his first-ever book, Senator Schumer begins to address the question that has bedeviled his party for a decadewhat do Democrats stand for? Drawing on his record of fourteen electoral victories without a loss, he posits where Democrats went wrong in the first part of this century and explains how they started to right the ship in 2006. With the critical 2008 election in mind, he describes how they can continue on course in the future and become the dominant party
Senator Chuck Schumer, the senior senator from New York, made electoral history in November of 2006 as the principal architect of the Democrats successful effort to win back the Senatea goal many thought was unattainable.
He adds that the Democrats’ bruising losses in 2004 were a byproduct of the party’s failure to offer a “comparable alternative” to the Republicans’ clearly articulated vision of a strong interventionist foreign policy, lower taxes and a conservative social-cultural agenda. While Mr. Schumer’s party prevailed in ’06, he says its message was essentially the “negative image of the Republican message” — it was largely reactive.
Mr. Schumer contends that the Republicans’ “ideological clock has run out,” but adds that the Democrats need to stop playing defense and define what their own party stands for if they want to consolidate last year’s victories. They need to learn from the Republicans, who are “incredibly skillful at identifying clear issues that connect to their values.” They need to come up with “a successful construct for how to deal with the war on terror.” They need to stop taking their cue in Washington from special-interest groups. And to counter the Republican media machine, they need to refine their message, create think tanks that will help shape the intellectual debate, and take advantage of “the extensive Democratic and left-leaning ‘netroots’ ” to help “identify and encourage viable candidates, like Jim Webb and Jon Tester, in the early stages of their races.”