[BLATANT PARTISAN POLITICS] Joel, you can ignore this post.
I've been reading a lot about how the Democrats can't win the House this year because House seats are too heavily gerrymandered. 98% of incumbents won their seat again in the last election.
But there are races that will give us the House back -- in 2008. The state assemblies and the governorships. The state governments are where the House districts are gerrymandered. Once the Republicans won the Texas state assembly, they were able to give themselves 7 new safe seats.
Even if the Democrats can't win the House this year, if we pour our energies into the state assembly races, we can win a few. Where we hold (or pick up) a governorship, we can grossly and undemocratically gerrymander the heck out of that state's House seats in our favor. Where the Republicans hold the governorship, we can at least prevent them from grossly and undemocratically gerrymandering the heck out of that state's House seats.
This approach also blunts the local-hero advantage the Republicans have. While most people prefer the Democrats to the Republicans these days, most people like their representative personally, and will vote to keep him on. But most people have no clue who their state assemblyman is, and don't particularly care. I doubt they have strong feelings about their State's Secretary of State either; yet we all know how Katherine Harris in Florida and Ken Blackwell in Ohio made sure that blacks would have a hard time of it voting in the past two elections. If we can convince people to vote Democratic for state posts, then they can vote for their House rep next time, but he won't be around after November 2008.
Obviously, this is an argument for pursuing a 50-state campaign, as many have suggested, rather than only contesting swing states.
The best part of this plan is that if the Democrats win the House through gerrymandering, the Supreme Court will be forced to address the issue. They might actually ban gerrymandering if it turns out to be a tool the Democrats can use successfully as well as the Republicans.