The temptation to ignore the vital center is nothing new. Every four years,
in the heat of the nominating process, liberals and conservatives alike dream of
a world in which swing voters don't exist. Some on the left would love to
pretend that groups such as the Democratic Leadership Council, the party's
leading centrist voice, aren't needed anymore.
It's tempting to lecture and warn about the dangers of repeating history, but to what effect? It's hard to imagine what happens next that actually could be different from the past. If the Democrats still manage to wring out another significant win - in the most extreme circumstances, taking the White House and a super majority in both houses of Congress - will they be motivated to somehow do better than the Republicans did in a similar position? Hardly.
And what if it goes the other way? If the Dems put up a candidate who simply can't be elected in the national race, it's hardly a given that the GOP couldn't take four more years. The lead in the Senate is so slim that it wouldn't take many mistakes to hand it back. Will the Republicans have somehow "learned their lesson" and change their whole approach to governance? It is to laugh. They'll do just what the Democrats did and take it as some sort of vindication that they had been right all along.
There is a huge center in this country, but it is so diverse, unorganized - swirling around so many different key issues - that it's impossible to imagine them ever building a significant coalition of their own. And as long as both parties feel that they can use the center briefly when it's an absolute political necessity and then ignore them for the desires of the base, nothing is likely to change.
Ron's thoughts above