Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A Glimmer of Hope

While the Right is still delirious (see previous post), there are some signs of hope for Democrats. First, they’re at least sounding defiant as they return to Washington.

Congressional Democrats returned to Washington in a defiant mood yesterday, making no apologies for the campaign in which they lost congressional seats and the presidential race and vowing to hold President Bush accountable for his handling of the deficit, the Iraq war and other issues.

In his first public comments since conceding defeat to Bush, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) did not rule out a bid in 2008 and promised to keep pushing the issues he championed this year.

“Let me tell you one thing that I want to make clear,” Kerry said in a brief meeting with reporters in the Capitol. “Fifty-four-plus-million Americans voted for health care, they voted for energy independence, they voted for unity in America, they voted for stem cell research, they voted for protecting Social Security. We need to be unified, and we have a very clear agenda. And I’m going to be fighting for that agenda with all of the energy that I have and all the passion I brought to the campaign.”


Returning to the Capitol, where he will resume serving his fourth Senate term, Kerry met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who will succeed Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) as Senate minority leader.

Pelosi, addressing reporters after lunching with about 100 House Democrats, said her party will speak out when it believes Bush and the GOP-controlled Congress are mismanaging Iraq, tax policies or the deficit. “The president won’t be able to blame anyone, because the Republicans have full control,” Pelosi said. Although Republicans have controlled the White House, Senate and House for two years, she said, “the American people did not know that. And now they do.”

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) rejected arguments that Republicans care more than Democrats do about traditional values. “We are the party of moral values,” he said. Cutting taxes “for the very rich” increases the deficit and forces spending cuts in education, health care and housing, he said. “And so throughout the next two years, you’re going to hear a lot [from Democrats] about moral values.”

Yeah, yeah; talk is cheap. But at least they’ve got the right attitude.

And if you live in Dallas, there’s a new sheriff in town, and she’s not your run-of-the-mill law enforcement officer.

Lupe Valdez is a woman, a Hispanic, a Democrat and a lesbian — and, come Jan. 1, she’s entering the ranks of Texas good ol’ boys. Valdez is becoming Sheriff Lupe.

Any one description — female, Latina, Democrat and openly gay — would have qualified Valdez’s election as Dallas County sheriff for the local history books. But all four?

“Who would’ve ever imagined . . .?” editorialized the Dallas Morning News, which endorsed Valdez. Valdez, who faced three opponents in a March Democratic primary and then advanced to an April runoff, last week edged out Republican Danny Chandler, a 30-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department.

Valdez won 51 percent of the vote, overcoming the opposition of the unions that represent the 1,785 employees in the Sheriff’s Department and an eleventh-hour alarm sounded by Chandler and the conservative Texas Eagle Forum about her acceptance of campaign contributions from the Washington-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

That sounds like a perfect nightmare for Tom DeLay. Too bad the grand jury hearing the case against him isn’t sitting in Dallas County; it be an almost Shakespearean twist if the arrest warrant for The Hammer was served by Sheriff Valdez.