During the Cold War, Democrats were regarded as weak on national security. From Lyndon Johnson's departure from the White House in 1969 to Bill Clinton's post-Cold War return there in 1992, a Democrat served as president for only four years — and that, thanks to a Republican scandal. Out of power, many Democrats have emphasized politics over policy. Should the Democrats take back congress, they will have a two-year window to put forward their serious and credible voices. Or they can play to the base and the blogs; that would be deleterious for both the party and the country. I'm optimistic —but cautiously so.