WHERE'S THE META-MESSAGE? One would have hoped that the announcement of the Capitol Hill Democratic confab scheduled for today -- the one at which the Democrats will lay out their election agenda -- would have brought a sense of excitement to yours truly when she read about it. (Still I look to find a reason to believe...)

But when I read of the plan in today's Associated Press story by Liz Sidoti, I found yet another laundry list of fix-it items, all worthy, but none of them big enough to raise gooseflesh on the arms of likely voters.

Calling the agenda "A New Direction for America," the Democrats list a number of laudable plans on the following: income, national security, energy, education, health care and retirement accounts. Swell. But as the Prospect's Robert Reich pointed out (PDF) some time ago, the Republicans have never won on the particulars; they have won on the narrative. And once again, it seems, the Democrats will offer no story of America, no heroic theme, to which they can hitch that agenda.

How 'bout something like, say, "A Covenant for the Common Good"? Don't sell it on particulars alone, but with stories of real people who sacrifice for their country, who sacrifice for their communities, for their neighbors, for their families, and find themselves screwed by the Republican program? How 'bout reminding folks of their professed belief in loving their neighbors as themselves, or offering a subtle, narrative-driven primer on those areas of the Constitution now threatened by the Republican Borg?

Can I get a witness?

--Adele M. Stan