With the exception of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, every Democratic candidate since 1968 has presented a platform that did not represent their base. Clinton and Carter won in years that the Republicans self-destructed. In Carter's case it was Watergate. Clinton was fortunate to have Ross Perot peeling votes from "pappy" Bush. He never got a majority in either 1992 and 1996. The Republicans understand this and have always first appealed to their base because they know that those are the votes that they need to be elected. However, the Democratic leaders are more like the Republicans than their constituents because they are mostly rich and powerful people who have no clue about their base support. That is why the Democratic Party has run its campaigns appealing to the center, the DEAD enter. Using a sports metaphor, it is like a team playing not to lose.
The jury is still out on Barak Obama as to which approach he will use in the general election against McCain. As a change candidate, he has the opportunity to level the playing field because he gets most of his support from small donations coming from his base. He has the opportunity to win a landslide victory if he does not move to the center. His campaign is based upon change and any overt move to the center by him will be easily perceived by his millions of supporters as a betrayal.
Hillary ran in 2000 as a DLC Democrat supporting the death penalty and strong national security. Her vote supporting the Iraq war in 2002 was a calculated decision to advance her candidacy for President. That vote was clearly against the base of her party. It was an illogical vote because had the war been successful, Bush and the Republicans would have been enormously popular which would have decreased the likelihood that she or any other Democrat could win a presidential campaign against a Republican in 2008. On the other hand, had she voted with her base as many of her colleagues did in 2002, she would be the candidate in 2008. Success in the Iraq war was not her ticket to the White House. That left the door open for the insurgency candidate, Barak Obama.
How many losing elections will it take for the Democratic leadership to understand the old biblical quote from Proverbs 11:29: "He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart." Hillary's path to rehabilitation would be to stay in the Senate and support with all her heart the base that she abandoned when her husband became President. There are many illustrations of politicians who have been written off only to come back with intelligent, forthright, and sincere representations of their constituency. In order for Hillary to find her "voice" as a Democrat she must listen to the right voices that represent the base of her party and the rational approach to governing based upon principal and not politics.