Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | November 07, 2002

Pelosi has upper hand in House leadership battle

Nancy Pelosi and Martin Frost are both fighting to replace Dick Gephardt as House Minority Leader. Pelosi clearly has the upper hand, as the party's women caucus, the California delegation, and party liberals will all vote for her. As the comfortable front-runner, Pelosi has trainer her guns on Bush and the Republicans.

Not Frost, who claims Pelosi is too liberal to lead the party back to the majority.

Perhaps, but middle-of-the-road moderation spelled disaster for the Dems last Tuesday, so I can't see any harm in nominating someone to light a fire under the party's base. The squishy center has become a tar pit for Democrats, and clearly something has to change.

I agree with many posters that Harold Ford would've been the best choice, but Ford will have his chances in the future. The Tennessee congressman is a superstar and I wouldn't be surprised to see him win the presidency someday. But the reality is that he's still young, and he still has to work the ladder.

Also in that same boat is Rep. Robert Menendez of New Jersey. Another party superstar, Mendendez will most likely be head of caucus and will someday be Speaker of the House (one reason he refused to run for Senate when Toricelli dropped out).

It's doubtful that Pelosi would spark any defections from the party's more conservative wing.

Asked whether he thought any Democrats would switch parties if Pelosi were elected leader, Frost said, "I'm not going to suggest that anyone's going to bolt the party over the election."

"I don't know of anybody that's going to switch parties," said Rep. Ralph Hall, D-Texas, a conservative. "I'd probably be the one most likely and I don't have any interest in that."

If Hall isn't going anywhere, and the guy is to the right of most Republicans (scoring an 83 percent lifetime rating in the American Conservative Union's scorecard).

Incidentally, Frost scored only a 16 percent in that scorecard -- he's no hardcore Conservative. Pelosi garnered a whole whopping 2 percent. I think we should get rid of the notion that one represents the party's left, and the other its right. Other than the war vote (Frost: yes, Pelosi: no) they both are good Democrats.

But Frost does look like Dick Cheney, and in any case it's about time that the Democrat Party's leadership reflect its core supporters.

Posted November 07, 2002 05:46 PM | Comments (72)


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