Adam Nagourney tells NY Times readers this morning that the Democrats had better stop paying attention to its base because that's what brought Bush down. Evidently, Bush's actual policies had nothing to do with it. Sadly, from most of the interviews with Democrats in the article, that's the lesson that Democrats took from the Bush years as well.
In addition, according to Nagourney the Democrats are boldly defying their base in spite of their fear they will desert them as Bush's did. Except, I don't think Bush's base actually deserted him, did it? Sure, today you can't find a hard core Republican who will admit to ever supporting Bush, but that doesn't make it true now does it? In fact, the base stuck with him through every thing he did, the spending, the wars, the malfeasance, the torture, all of it. They worshipped him like a God for years. Only after the fact has the base purged Bush, using a recently discovered "liberalism" to explain his catastrophic failure. It's the only way they can understand their world.
The Democratic base has not turned out to the the grinning zombies of the Bush years and it also doesn't follow that ignoring them would result in policies that the country likes better than they liked Bush's. The only lesson that Democrats should learn from the Bush years is that they need to deliver good policies that make a positive difference in people's lives. Forget the Rovian political machinations. They aren't good at it.