Given the structural issues that do exist in the economy, it is much harder for Democrats to come to a reasonable alternative to the status quo because, invariably, some sacred cows will be gored in the process and parts of the Democratic coalition will then block certain reforms. This, I believe, is the reason President Obama didn't ultimately support the recommendations of Simpson-Bowles. Had he done so, he would have generated a lot of heat but not much light. The Tea Party argument, in contrast, is simpler - gut a good chunk of what government currently does. There is the further issue that the addressing the structural deficit problem too soon will have the consequence of delivering a Keynesian stimulus in reverse. The current sluggishness of the economy gives political cover to Democrats who don't want to trim Federal spending as a long term proposition.
For these reasons I think Democrats need to have an internal debate first. That will take sufficiently long that it won't conclude before the election. So I would say put off the whole thing till after the election but go all in on trying to beat Romney-Ryan, because the consequences of them winning the White House would be dire.