Bottom line: We liberals need to reclaim the Democratic Party with the New Democrat positions of Bill Clinton and the New Politics/bipartisan aspirations of Barack Obama—a party that is willing to meet half-way with conservatives and Republicans even if that means only step-by-step reforms on health care and other issues that do not necessarily involve big-government solutions.

That’s what Massachusetts Democrats and independent voters were telling national Democrats yesterday. The question isn’t just, will we listen? The question is, will we stop listening to the strident, purist base of our party who seem to prefer defeat to winning elections and no change at all if they don’t get all the change they want.

Stay tuned.