In blogger call, Pelosi outlines Democratic strategy for 2006 elections
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Saturday May 6, 2006
In a call to bloggers this afternoon monitored by RAW STORY, House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) outlined the Democratic strategy for
winning the 2006 elections.
Pelosi and her fellow Democrats went into the current congress with an
exceedingly weak hand. Republicans held both houses of the
legislature, and Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) loss to President Bush in the general
election left many within the party disillusioned. The Democrats had
no way to govern, and very limited ways of getting their message out.
According to the Congresswoman, even liberal papers often refused space
for Democrats out of fear of losing access to Republicans, who
controlled both houses of congress and the presidency. "It was across the
board," the Congresswoman said. "We couldn't get the established media to
really tell the tale,."
Grassroots, Netroots become battlegrounds
"That's why we had to have over a thousand town meetings--we couldn't
get anything in," she intimated. "We don't have the votes, people think
we can't win, so why bother talking to us. That's the attitude around
Part of this plan to bypass mainstream media included using blogs.
Pelosi implied that giving a story to Internet outlets, who then trump the
mainstream media, is not only a means of getting a story out, but also
a way to spur mainstream news sites into action, via competition.
"We had to leave Washington," she concluded, "to innoculate the public
to what George Bush was doing and expose them to the horrors he was
Taking the hits
A more controversial aspect of the strategy was staying silent on
alternative policies while the public reacted to Republican legislation.
Movement toward any agenda, Pelosi told callers, required first,
"Laying a foundation, tak[ing] the Bush numbers down before we could do
anything. For us, it was about unifying the Democrats, about taking their
numbers down, about getting our numbers up in the polls."
According to public opinion polsters, this strategy seems to have been
met with success. "We're up fifteen, sixteen, seventeen points in the
polls without people even knowing what the plan is. We've taken the
mockery--'Oh, they don't have a plan'--in order to lay the groundwork.
"Our very constitution, our budget, our future, everything is at risk.
If we have to take the heat on certain issues, we're willing to do
"We got the results we wanted," Pelosi feels. "Now, we're ready to go
positive. [We have] a full media plan so that the American people will
know who we are, what we stand for."
Pelosi says that the Democrats' vision for America started to go public
in January, with a focus on, "honest leadership and real government. We
next went to real security... In June, we go to our plan for
family security--jobs, [and] the environment."
In the coming days, Democrats plan to spolight the fight against a
penalty seniors late to sign up for a prescription drug plan will have to
pay. The penalty, Pelosi explained, is a 1% increase for each month
late--and continues for the rest of the recipients' lives. The
Congresswoman cited a GAO report that stated 60% of confused seniors who called in
to inquire about which plan best suited them received the wrong
information from Medicare operators. "Handmaidens of the pharmaceutical
industry put together a corrupt plan," she blasted. "And [seniors] are
expected to pay for it the rest of their lives."
The party, according to Pelosi, plans to push the case that increased
costs on seniors also affect the generation in the middle: adults with
children and elderly parents that both require financial support.
The Democrats' Rural caucus also intends to announce next week more
detailed information about the party's energy independence plan, which
aims for energy independence in 10 years' time. "We're going to send our
energy dollars to the midwest instead of the middle east," she hinted.
A reason to win
But the most important issue of the coming election, according to
Pelosi, is also one of the least discussed: oversight.
"The Republicans during the Clinton years had done nothing but
oversight of the intelligence," Pelosi explained. "Now that Bush is president,
they've done no oversight."
When a caller interjected a note of concern, Pelosi fumed back in
agreement, "It is dangerous!"
"I voted against the war, and sixty percent of the Democrats did, too.
The intelligence was not there." The Democratic leader reiterated, "For
people who say, 'If you saw what I saw'--it wasn't there."
"There have been no oversight hearings on Iraq, no oversight on Abu
Ghraib," she marveled. "If there was one issue to win the election [for],
it would be the power of subpoena--the American people should know."
Pelosi offers the Cunningham bribery scandal as another example of
Congressional failure to oversee the war effort. "One of these contractors
[linked to the bribery scandal] was supposed to be supplying the
prevention for the improvised explosive devices. If this is a contractor
that didn't do what it was supposed to, it cost American lives and the
American people should know about that."
"I've been trying for a while," she explained, "but can't get the
information because they do no oversight."