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November 3, 2004
Pelosi Skips Calls For Unity, Melts Down

In the aftermath of the 2004 election debacle that saw the Democrats lose even more ground in Congress than two years ago, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi might have heeded John Kerry's call for unity and bipartisanship, putting aside the campaign rhetoric and divisiveness in order to find middle ground. After her reaction to the losses, it's clear that she didn't listen to Kerry's concession speech:

A day after strengthening the Republican Party's majority in the House, Speaker Dennis Hastert called on Democrats to assist GOP efforts to fight the war on terror, create jobs and expand health insurance to more Americans.

"I pledge to work with those Democrats who want to work with me to get good things done for the American people," Hastert said Wednesday.

But House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, stung by her party's losses on Election Day, seemed unlikely to accept the offer.

"The Republicans did not have an election about jobs, health care, education, environment, national security. They had an election about wedge issues in our country, and you know what they are," she said. "They exploited the loveliness of the American people, the devoutness of people of faith for a political end."

One could excuse Pelosi for sticking to the Terry McAuliffe playbook, in which Democrat leadership follow their own failures by accusing evil, greedy, corrupt, mean, lying Republicans of not reaching out to them in true bipartisan spirit. Democrats have been using this line since the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and while it resonated with the American electorate in 1998, it has led their party to three embarrassing electoral efforts in a row since then.

Rep. Tom Reynolds, who chaired the GOP's Congressional efforts in this election, analyzed Pelosi correctly:

"She lost seats," he said. "This is a demoralizing loss for House Democrats and is personally damaging to leader Pelosi."

When Pelosi first ascended to her role as Minority Leader, she replaced Dick Gephardt, who was blamed for allowing the House to slip from Democrat control in 1994, ending their 40-year reign. Pelosi was seen as more aggressive, more partisan than Gephardt, able to stand up to the GOP.

Unfortunately, Pelosi has failed in almost every way imaginable since she took the reins, and Democrats should reconsider their choice. Her moment in the national spotlight after the last State of the Union speech revealed her as a terrible spokesperson for the party, a woman who fills her speeches with the worst generalizations and demagoguery and whose delivery almost encourages people to dial 911 on her behalf. Her constituency includes the most radical and lunatic left-wing activists, the same people who pushed Howard Dean into the front-runner spot early on and tried to remold John Kerry into a tower of will.

Pelosi's leadership has been the ruin of her party. She has helped perpetuate the poisonous atmosphere in DC, and her ungracious comments today as well as her knee-jerk reaction to blame everyone but herself for her failure will not appeal to a campaign-weary American electorate. The Democrats need to quit demanding bipartisanship and start exhibiting it, and they need real leaders willing to work across the aisle rather than spit across it. If the Democrats want to compete in 2006, they need to jettison the Pelosis, McAuliffes, and Carvilles of their party now.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 3, 2004 9:52 PM

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President Bush and John Kerry both called on a healing of America's partisan battles and both resolved to make an effort to bring unity to our country. Nancy Pelosi rejected those calls today. In an effort to continue the divisiveness that has d... [Read More]

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