From 2002: Pelosi “can lead this caucus to victory”

Minds are boggled as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has announced her decision to pursue the top leadership position among the Democrats who lost the House in last Tuesday’s election. Since this will be the second time she’s running for House Minority Leader, let’s have a look at what was said about her during the first time, in 2002.

In outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s, D-Calif., own words:

“I don’t think they chose me as an outspoken San Francisco liberal. I think they chose me as a person who can lead the caucus to victory, as a person who can build coalitions among the various segments of our caucus and as a person who represents various points of views within the caucus.”

Those “various segments” she was going to unite are no longer in office. In someone else’s words about Pelosi:

“I think Nancy’s message and the course she would like to take us down, I don’t know if that’s where America wants to go,” said [Harold] Ford, [D-Mo.,] who would be the first black to hold the powerful post [of Speaker of the House].

From a November 2002 episode of CNN’s “Capital Gang” show, liberal pundit Margaret Carlson (bold mine):

“Nancy Pelosi will be called a San Francisco Democrat by Republicans, but she will not behave like one, because, as Harold Ford says — or Martin Frost says, they have to occupy part of the center, which Bush has vacuumed up for himself.”

From then-outgoing California Democratic Rep. Anna Eschoo:

Pelosi was “the choice of conservative Democrats, centrist Democrats and liberal Democrats. . . . This was a pragmatic choice, not an ideological choice.”

Here’s a headline:

Democrats Turn To Fearless Liberal For New Direction

From The Nation:

Pelosi is one of the most progressive members of the House, with a voting record that frequently displays 100 percent support for the positions advanced by organized labor, environmental and consumer groups.

From the American Prospect:

Heading into the elections, Democrats took a gamble on whether to stick to their principles or support the president. In the House, at least, they seem to have made the decision that the best way to win votes is by maintaining their ideals.

And this observation from that earlier CNN discussion, this from Robert Novak:

“… Nancy Pelosi doesn’t know anything except how to be a liberal, they are moving to the left. And the danger of the Democratic Party, the party of Andrew Jackson, is that it’s going to be the party of the feminists, it’s going to be the party of minority groups, and the party of trial lawyers.

Now, that is, that is a non-winning combination. And unless they find somebody to — or else some catastrophe, they hope for some national catastrophe where the public turns to the Democrats, this is a party in serious political trouble.”

Novak, it turns out, was exactly right.

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