Instapundit linked up this Backseat Philosopher essay that seems to directly address several problems I myself have seen with the unfolding Democratic fallout from this year's election:
Many Democrats think that our patience and understanding are our weakness. "We don't know how to fight like the Republicans," we all told ourselves after Florida 2000. "We have to be more like them: tougher, meaner." "We have to energize our base more."
Actually, no. Our error is that we Democrats are far less understanding than we think we are. Our version of understanding the other side is to look at them from a psychological point of view while being completely unwilling to take their arguments seriously. "Well, he can't help himself, he's a right-wing religious zealot, so of course he's going to think like that." "Republicans who never served in war are hypocrites to send young men to die. " "Republicans are homophobes, probably because they can't deal with their secret desires." Anything but actually listening and responding to the arguments being made.
Lots of good, constructive things in there, read it before you start helping me look for my blind-man's cane again.
In my experience, these elitist attitudes are quite real, and are a very real problem. Case in point: during voting at our precinct, there was one man there for the Republicans handing out the standard "please fill out your ballot this way" flier. He was quiet, professional, and dressed in a suit. The Democrats had two people there, one 20-something and another perhaps twice that age. They were dressed casually with campaign T-shirts, and were handing out similar fliers that were actually more informative than the Republicans's (they had the whole ballot, including amendments and bond issues, while the Republicans's didn't.)
However, their dress was not the point. Just as my section of the line was about to enter the building, the older Kerry supporter called the younger one over, and quite clearly said, "Ok, these Republicans seem to be quiet and civilized, but you'll probably run in to others..."
It's very hard not to alienate large swathes of people with such attitudes, and trust me, you're not hiding them as well as you think you are. Until you're able to strangle your elitism and begin trying to address the other side's ideas in a way that shows you're really listening and not just waiting to toss a snide barb, you're going to have a very rough time indeed.