Perlstein's main focus in one the fact that the Republicans have spent decades trying to distract the American voters from the base message upon which the Democratic Party is based.
It's simple. Barack Obama put it exquisitely in his victory speech: "Government can help provide us with the basic tools we need to live out the American dream."The entire piece is enlightening. It's also something Democratic politicians have been circling around in their rather short-sighted efforts to simply be Republican light. Democrats who do stand up, win.
Here's a dirty little secret. The Republicans know this. Nothing scares them more than us returning to our simple answers.
Here's Bill Kristol, in a famous 1993 memo I'm sure you're all familiar with: "Health care is not, in fact, just another Democratic initiative . . . the plan should not be amended; it should be erased. . . . It will revive the reputation of the . . . Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests."
Oddly enough, Perlstein might have also pointed out that the Republicans have also lost their essential concept of limited government in their efforts to be not-Democrats even as they repackage Democrat ideas in Republican language.