Ex-Republican Huffington bemoans new Stepford Pelosi

· long story short

I’ve been in there rooting for “San Francisco Democrat” Nancy Pelosi, though I know her mainly as a fundraiser, and cutting her some slack as she tries to reposition the Democrats in congress, but Huffington put her finger on a real concern in her Salon column today:

Turning her gaze on the smoldering ruins of Election Night 2002, Pelosi offered up some Churchillian language. “Never again,” she promised, “will you see a situation where the Democratic Party will go forth into an election with the Republicans characterizing who we are, but without a Democratic message to inoculate against that mischaracterization.” But when she tried her hand at delivering that message, the best she could manage were shopworn banalities about plans to “grow the economy” and “create jobs.” I’m afraid that inoculation is in need of a serious booster shot.

To hear pod Pelosi tell it, her leadership role is all about finding the political middle. “We must seek our common ground with the administration,” she told Russert. And I lost count of the number of times she used the word “consensus” during her appearance. In truth, the last thing the Democrats need right now is another champion of compromise — another Dick Gephardt. Why does she think he stepped down in the first place? Because he didn’t seek enough consensus?