Dick Gephardt has announced that he will announce [sic] that he will step down as House Minority Leader. Vying to replace Gephardt are my own Congresswoman, House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi, and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost of Texas.
Neither Frost nor Pelosi are particularly well known. But whoever becomes Minority Leader has the inside track to becoming Speaker of the House if the Democrats return to the majority in 2004. In the meantime, the Minority Leader will be one of the key spokesmen for the loyal opposition. Some partisan Republicans might prefer to have the most extreme liberal in that role, so that the Democrats look foolish and self-destruct. But I disagree. I think we should have the most capable opposition we can get -- to support the majority when appropriate and to disagree when appropriate, but to always do so from a sensible position and with reasoned and articulate arguments.
I don't know much about Frost, but I know enough about my own Congresswoman to have concerns about her fitness for a senior leadership post. Her politics are a proud throwback to the discredited paleoliberalism of the McGovern/Carter/Mondale/Jackson/Dukakis era, revised for the 00s with Tom Ammiano and Cynthia McKinney as co-poster-children. Pelosi won 80% of the vote here in San Francisco, but the rest of the country is not San Francisco. Nor, fortunately, does it want to be. Nor does it have much use for Nancy Pelosi's version of nanny-state socialism and ineffectual foreign policy.
I've blogged several entries about Pelosi in the last month or so. I've organized the links on a permanent page here. I'll be writing more about her in the days ahead.
Get to know Nancy Pelosi, she may be playing a bigger role on the national stage. And if your local Congressman happens to be a Democrat, write to him or her and express your opinion on Pelosi as a House leader.
UPDATE Cokie Roberts [NPR audio] gives the advantage to Pelosi, adding that the House Democratic Caucus is "a lot more liberal than the voters, and how that plays in the end with the electorate becomes another question".Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at November 07, 2002 06:46 AM