It's not that the Democrats can't sell the message, it's that they seem not to know how to do it. Drew Westen, in the Huffington Post, nails it:
The economy is tanking, and McCain's chief economic adviser, Phil Gramm, made one of the most disastrous gaffes a high-ranking campaign official could have made when a nation is facing bank closings, record foreclosures, skyrocketing prices, spiraling unemployment, and an angry electorate: belittling the public for their distress and telling them to stop whining. It would have fit right into a story about a presidential candidate who has as many homes as most people have fingers, and whose first response to the mortgage crisis was to blame the lack of "personal responsibility" of young families buying their first one. It would have fit right into a story of a presidential candidate whose wife complained that the only way to get around Arizona is on a personal jet.
But the Obama campaign chose not to tell that story--or any of its supporting details. When Obama was standing on a world stage last week illustrating for anyone to see precisely what he would do for American respect again around the world--in a world where respect translates into help fighting the terrorists without borders who constitute the greatest threat to our national security--where were his surrogates reminding voters that McCain's whining about Obama's popularity was nothing but sour grapes, and preventing the media from turning Obama's extraordinary success into an example of empty "celebrity" and "arrogance"? (Last I looked, television news producers didn't take their own high ratings as signs of arrogance when they make a strong showing.) And when they finally put a surrogate on television this weekend--John Kerry to face off against Joe Lieberman doing his best Zell Miller impersonation--why did they pick a surrogate associated in every American's mind with the one thing you wouldn't want associated with a candidate who'd had a rough week: losing?
Ugh! This is pissing me off. Somebody call James Carville, with the quickness!!!