Dems: picking up the pieces
By phone en route to D.C., Doggett said that despite a few local bright spots for Democrats, the election results confirmed that Texas remains a very Republican state, at least for the next several years. He was not exactly looking forward to his return to a more Republican Congress, where "two more years of gloating will frankly be a little difficult to take." He says the Democrats will have to do some honest re-evaluation -- "not recriminations" -- over party strategy, and he is encouraged by the pending selection of California Rep. Nancy Pelosi to replace Dick Gephardt as majority leader. "I was the first Texan to endorse [Pelosi] for majority whip, and it's great to have a progressive woman as majority leader, and potentially the first woman speaker of the House."
As for the widespread commentary that Pelosi represents the "extreme left-wing" of the party, Doggett said, "The mainstream media have fallen for that nonsense without a word -- what they're reporting could have been written by [GOP Rep.] Tom DeLay." Arch-conservative DeLay, of Sugar Land, is poised to become House majority leader.
Doggett described the debate over moving the Democrats "to the left or to the right" as a misleading sound-bite controversy, adding that the Democrats cannot be revived by becoming "more like Republicans." Rather, he said, it's a question of "picking our fights very carefully, and making it clear that we stand for something."