Skip to comments.Dems get to play their own version of 'Death Wish'
Posted on 11/08/2002 1:15:07 AM PST by kattracks
President Bush didn't look like a winner when he met the press yesterday. Eager to avoid crowing about his party's congressional sweep, the President seemed tired and downcast. He could have claimed a mandate, but didn't. He could have taken credit, but didn't. "I tried to help [the candidates] the best I could, but the credit belongs to the people in the field," he said.
Bush wasn't in another world. He knew what he was doing. There was no need to gloat. The results speak for themselves. The Democratic disaster is far worse than the 1994 GOP congressional takeover, when Republicans won control of the House for the first time in 40 years. Then, at least, Democrats held the White House and Bill Clinton proved adept at shaping the political debate. The Republicans now own it all. More, they stand for things and have passion - and everyone knows it.
While Bush played it perfectly, the Democrats, alternating between a defensive and defiant tone, have gone almost instantly from defeat to recrimination.
"Democrats should not mistake the magnitude of this loss," said Al Gore. "There has to be a major regrouping."
But in which direction? The Democrats' choice is exquisitely embodied in the race to succeed House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt, who's stepping down and may strike for the presidency in 2004.
Two House members fighting for Gephardt's job are Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi of California and caucus chairman Martin Frost of Texas, the first Jew to win a high-ranking Democratic congressional post.
Pelosi is a liberal's liberal, a hard-nosed, left-leaning pol. She is almost a caricature of the politicians Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan's UN ambassador, once famously derided as "San Francisco Democrats." Naturally enough, Pelosi represents San Francisco in Congress.
Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta says we'll now "hear a much more full-throated critique" of Bush's agenda, especially his "unilateralist foreign policy" - and that's exactly what will happen if Pelosi wins the Nov. 14 election.
In a clear contrast with the moderate Frost, Pelosi voted against Bush on authorizing force to disarm Iraq's Saddam Hussein - and it is mostly on foreign policy that Frost draws the sharpest distinction between himself and her.
"The President won this election by standing for a strong America," Frost said yesterday. "Wherever the Democrats won in the hotly contested races, they supported [Bush] on Iraq. We'll lose every time if we" oppose the Republicans on defense and foreign policy. "The battleground seats are in the moderate and conservative parts of the country, and we can't write them off or we'll be in the minority forever.
'Like the guy said, 'I've been rich and I've been poor, and rich is better,'" Frost continued. "If we want to be in the majority, we have to accept reality and fight on the economic issues where Democrats can gain traction. But if we're not seen as standing for a strong America, as the President is seen, then we'll never have the chance to be heard on the other issues." Frost says he isn't advocating that "we become a Republican-lite party," but insists "we'll never win again if we want to be pure on every traditionally liberal issue.
"I am clearly more in the center of the party than Nancy, and that's where the country is," he says. "The question is, do we want to reflect the country and recapture the White House and Congress or do we not? We can't lead and ask to be the majority if we operate from a position of weakness on foreign and defense policy."
Frost says many Democrats are "very uneasy about the party moving sharply to the left" under Pelosi, but she claims support from 110 of her House colleagues, more than enough to win. But the balloting is secret, and strange things happen when the curtain closes. Like Pelosi, Sen. Chris Dodd thought he had the Democratic Senate leadership locked up in 1994 - and then lost the secret tally to Tom Daschle by one vote.
If you want the Democrats to have a chance to recoup in 2004, you'll be rooting for Frost next week. "Back to the future" was a snappy movie title. Aping that course, which Pelosi's election would represent, is a prescription for disaster.
I'll be rooting for Pelosi. She'll win. Their hatred of America will overcome reason.
It could happen, but we need patience and persistance, and eventually there will have to me another opposition party to fill the vaccum...I recommend the Libertarian party.
What Kramer (and every analyst I have read -- and since Tuesday, I have spent about 10 hours a day on FR -- BTW, not at work, I'm on vacation) misses is that either way the Dems are sunk. If Frost wins, the left-wing of the House Democrats will feel disenfranchised that another "white boy" won. They are not enamored of the "pragmatism" that Frost represents and would be *happy* if the conservative and moderate Democrats alienated by a Pelosi win -- Frost's main argument -- crossed over to the Republican aisle. (Pragmatism is not always a virtue of the politically committed. There was a segment of the freeper population that was happy when Jeffords crossed over.)
The CBC is especially ticked off at "Southern White Boys" who did nothing to support their members McKinney and Hilliard when they were challenged in primaries. That he is also Jewish will not be an endearing characteristic to the anti-semitic avant garde of the CBC and their commie fellow travelers.
And the Feminazis of the House will not be thrilled with "Southern White Boy" Frost either. Even if loves abortion.
I watched Frost's press conference today. He is one mean son of a b*tch. Comes across as even less likable than Newt.
Either way, we win. A San Francisco Democrat who alienates conseratives and moderates, or a mean Southern White Boy who alienates almost half the House Democratic Conference. I love the way internecine warfare smells in the morning.
She is the daughter of Tommy D'Allesandro former mayor of Baltimore, and her brother was also mayor of Baltimore.
She plays well with the Hillary/NOW crowd.
As I right this, it appears Frost dropped out. I do not think they could have regrouped as a moderate party anyway--the socialists are just to motivated, and too big a part of not only the voting base, but of the leadership itself. Either way, the party is going to continue to be split until the socialists can all be dumped off into the Green party or something.
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