Grayson: Democratic ‘appeasement’ cost us the election

By Daniel Tencer
Thursday, November 4, 2010 19:01 EDT
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‘There is no center left,’ iconoclastic politician says

Alan Grayson, the defeated Democratic congressman of “die quickly” fame, went on the offensive Thursday, telling reporters that the Democrats’ “appeasement” of Republicans cost them the election.

In an appearance on MSNBC and an interview with Salon.com, Grayson argued that the “enthusiasm gap” that prompted millions of liberal voters to stay home Tuesday happened because the Obama administration and congressional Democrats did not fight hard enough for progressive values.

“Our strategy for two years has been appeasement, and look where it got us,” Grayson told MSNBC. “I think Democrats want to see a fighting leadership, they want to see a fighting president — somebody who actually accomplishes good things for constituents.”

He cited immigration reform, civil rights, women’s rights and the Employee Free Choice Act as areas on which the Democrats should have focused.

The result of backing away from these fights was an “enthusiasm gap” that turned into a “voting gap,” Grayson told Salon’s Emma Mustich.

“In my case, it’s simply a matter of the Democrats not voting,” Grayson said. “We don’t have the final numbers from Election Day yet, but in the early voting, when you compare the vote this time to the vote in 2008, the Republicans dropped about 20 percent, and the Democratic vote dropped 60 percent.”

On MSNBC, Grayson quoted from poet William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming.”

“Sometimes, the center cannot hold,” Grayson quoted, adding: “There is no center left.”

Despite his high profile nationwide, Grayson lost to Republican challenger Dan Webster in Florida’s 8th district by a margin of 58 percent to 36 percent — a trouncing that was not unexpected within the Democratic leadership. The Democratic Congressional Committee stopped sending Grayson money last month, a sign it viewed his race as a lost cause.

Grayson rocketed to prominence a year ago during the debate over health care reform, when he announced in the House that the Republican plan for health reform amounted to hoping people “die quickly” when they get sick.

Grayson didn’t give away what his post-congressional plans may be, but he didn’t rule out running for office again. “We’ll see,” he said on MSNBC. “If that’s what the people want [a comeback], then I’ll be back.”

But Fox News host Bill O’Reilly does have a prediction for Grayson’s future. Calling the congressman a “pinhead” on election night, O’Reilly said: “I expect Arianna Huffington to hire this clown.”

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