In order to get the post-election agenda right, it is important that the election itself be understood. It was about issues: spending, jobs, taxes, over-regulation. William Galston's article, "It's the Ideology, Stupid," gets that right at the liberal New Republic. Others are trying to rationalize the outcome; people were confused, the White House didn't do a good enough job communicating, etc. The best path ahead for Democrats is to come to terms with reality.
The old legislative rubric is, if you have the votes, vote; if you don't, talk. In this election the rubric was, if you have the issues, campaign on the issues; if not, throw sand in the voters' eyes.