I'm really glad you guys are keeping on top of this issue. I've been trying to keep up but just haven't had the time to do a full analysis.
I agree that this action by the White House is completely reactionary. I think it really relates to something like the Draft Sestak Movement which saw how the Progressive Community can make a difference (even if we aren't elected officials) and get positive responses from elected officials.
I think it'll be possible for Democrats to pick up some typically Republican seats if we just change the way we say things a little. I've jotted some thoughts about this down but this would be aimed more towards the local and state level than nationally.
I've written a short list as well. but I'm still working over the names. I'm thinking Patrick is a no go (he seems to be dead, politically, in MA) and I'm still considering if Politico is right on Sotomayor being the favorite.