Is Pelosi Wrong Leader for Dems?

by Randy Shaw on March 21, 2006

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the political blog dailykos.com, echoed my own feelings yesterday when he noted that while he was overly optimistic about the Democrats chances in national elections in 2004, he is much less hopeful about the prospects for major Republican losses in 2006. Moulitsas, whose new book Charging the Gate will be reviewed this week in Beyond Chron, believes Democrats have been too timid in attacking Republican illegalities and policy failures.

He fears that this timidity has not given Democrats and independents enough reason to go to the polls, and that Republicans will benefit from the lack of a galvanized opposition. Most interesting was Kos’ less than flattering comments about San Francisco’s own Nancy Pelosi.

Here is an excerpt from Moulitsas’ March 21 comments:

In the Senate, Harry Reid has shaken shit up and caused Republicans no small amount of heartburn. But in the House, Democrats under Pelosi’s leadership have been all but neutered. How many ethics complaints has Pelosi and her team filed? None. And they ostracized Chris Bell when he filed his complaints against DeLay. How did Pelosi react to Lois Slaughter’s seminal report on Republican corruption? She quickly and meekly pulled it from her website when Republicans raised a stink.

She just attacked Feingold for introducing his censure resolution. And she’s leading the charge to destroy sites like this one by regulating them to death. The pattern is clear — target and eliminate any party individual or institution that stands up to the Republican juggernaut.

I think House Democrats in 2006 would be well served by casting about for a new leader, whether we win the House or not. And to think I was once a fan of Pelosi’s …

To be fair, Pelosi’s strong support of legislation that would impose campaign financing disclosure requirements on sites like dailykos.com has no doubt lessened her standing among bloggers like Moulitsas’. It is also true that Pelosi has done an effective job of keeping Democrats together on key votes, a solidarity that was the key to defeating Alaska drilling last year.

But Nancy Pelosi may well be hindered in her militancy out of fear that she would be immediately lampooned as a typical, out of the mainstream ‘San Francisco Democrat.’ Nevadan Harry Reid does not face this problem, and it may be that a progressive Congressmember from a Midwest or more heartland state has the freedom to be a more effective fighting force as House Leader.

Send feedback to rshaw@beyondchron.org

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