Dems wonder: How much should they attack O’Donnell?

The question isn’t just a matter of day-to-day tactics. The sharp, personal attacks on Republican candidates could save the Senate for Democrats, a crucial matter for the next two years of governance. But the national narrative is intended to refocus the party as a whole and even to right President Barack Obama’s own political prospects for 2012. It’s hard to do both at the same time.

Some strategists believe Democrats should focus on tearing down those figures with all the local ammunition available before turning to broader themes.

“You have to take these guys seriously, even the craziest of them. You can’t let these guys backpedal from the incendiary stuff they said during their primaries,” said Jim Jordan, a Democratic consultant. “Swing voters are angry and confused and disgusted, but there’s no sign they’re looking to the ideological fringes for answers.”

“The Republicans who lost primaries to these nuts took them too lightly for too long,” he said.