The Democratic Party has been all but dead for years as a meaningful national alternative. The party has no recognized national leader. It has no cause, no fire in the belly. It has been largely silent for six years while Bush rampaged through the world and literally peed on American liberties like a grotesquely-smirking, small-town sheriff. No President in history has shown so little respect for human rights, and with so little excuse, yet all the would-be defenders of the Republic, whether Congressmen or the Don't-Tread-on-Me crowd, have been no where to be seen. And Democrats like Lieberman or Kerry can hardly be distinguished from Republicans.
The Democrats have been elected because Americans are now sick of Iraq. Their enthusiasms die quickly. American expectations for the wars they start are perfectly captured by the image of Bush landing on an aircraft carrier with a big banner behind him saying Mission Accomplished. It's a blockbuster version of the Homecoming Game with guys in uniforms and cheerleaders and flags, and there is no hint of death or decay. Anything beyond that kind of performance is welcomed like the kid who couldn't make the team.