Democrats do not have big thinkers. As Peter mentioned, it appears that all they care about is abortion. Thats part of the story. Its certainly their biggest issue. But what I think they are really afraid of is how powerful and persuasive and serious people like Alito, Scalia, Roberts and Thomas are. Of course they looked silly and juvenile--even purile. But thats really not the issue. Republicans have their hacks as well.
I think I have come around to the belief now that these guys no longer have faith in their own roots. They dont even take themselves seriously--on an intellectual level. They have so lost their capacity to respect reason that they are in a total malaise. Anything could be true. Thats why they cower in the face of the radicals among them. When anything can be true the guys with the biggest stick or the thickest wallets win. They certainly dont put forward very many serious people who can argue from the old-line Democratic beliefs. They do not have the equivalent of the conservative movement, with thinkers and scholars who inspire people. The are beyond post-modern. They are inspired by nothing and they really dont believe in much beyond a lazy adolescent cry for "freedom" and "rights." They cant articulate what that means in any sensible way.
We are in the position now of arguing with people who have no argument. Its almost not even fun. Maybe thats why Ive been much more interested in international politics lately!