November 8  2002

Nancy Pelosi Fights to Lead the Democrats

The Online Beat by John Nichols - The Nation

11/07/2002 @ 12:07am

The collapse of Richard Gephardt's leadership of the House Democratic Caucus did not occur on November 5, when the party lost seats in an election where history and economic trends suggested that it should have gained them. That result was simply a confirmation of the crisis that had been evident for more than a year. From the first days of George W. Bush's selected-not-elected presidency, it was clear that Gephardt was unprepared to serve as the leader of Congressional opposition to a Republican president. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he simply stopped trying. That doomed Democratic chances of taking over the House in 2002, as Gephardt failed to define an opposition agenda and took positions out of sync with his own caucus.

>Pelosi's stance placed her in direct opposition not just to the Bush administration but to Gephardt. And it stirred immediate discussion among House Democrats about what it might be like to be a genuine opposition party. An aggressive progressive, Pelosi has long argued that Democrats need to clearly distinguish themselves from Republicans on domestic and international issues. Now, she can point to Tuesday's election results -- in which Democrats who opposed the Bush agenda on taxes and war ran better than those who compromised with the administration -- as confirmation of her view. <

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Chicago, November 8, 2002
"We’ve had a few days to lick our wounds now, so let’s get over that and get cracking. One of the things the right wing does very successfully is to take a licking and come back kicking. We can learn from that. We have to."

>"Another goal will be to develop antidotes for the poison pills that conservatives use to marginalize and demoralize us, and the lies they tell about us and about our issues. We learned in the presidential campaign of 2000, as put it, that a charge unanswered is a charge that sticks." < Carolyn Kay

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