Democrats’ broad losses have sparked an even broader debate inside the Democratic Party, with party regulars split over whether President Obama tried to do too much, or was punished by his own base for doing too little.
Count Rep. Alan Grayson, a liberal Florida Democrat who lost his race last week, as a member of the “too little” camp.
“What happened last week is that Democratic voters didn't vote in my district and districts all around the country, except for the West Coast and New England,” Grayson told us on ABC’s “Top Line” today. “This wasn't a situation where Democrats decided to vote for Republican candidates. It was a situation where Democrats decided to stay home and when Democrats don't vote, Democrats can't win.”
“I think it's fair to say environmentalists were disappointed by the past two years. It's fair to say Latinos were disappointed by the last two years. It's fair to say that unions were disappointed for the past two years, and union members were disappointed by the past two years. And fundamentally, a lot of people haven't got their jobs back yet and they want to hold the party in power responsible for that,” Grayson said.
Democratic voters, Grayson said, “would've voted if President Obama would've done more, and specifically, more to improve their lives. That's what I'm hearing and I think that's a reasonable inference.”
Grayson said he doesn’t regret a widely discredited ad where he took his opponent’s words out of context to depict him as “Taliban Dan” – and said it didn’t play a factor in his race.
“Daniel Webster was in the state legislature for 30 years. He has an appalling record of being anti-woman and treating women like second class citizens. That ad was entirely accurate,” Grayson said.
On calling his opponent “Taliban Dan,” Grayson said, “that's a matter of atmospherics. But the fact of the matter is it had no effect on the campaign. A month after that ad ran, we were ahead.”
Grayson said he isn’t sure what he wants to do next, but said he doesn’t want the network of support he received in his campaign to “atrophy.”
“We've done some remarkable things. For example, 200,000 contribution to our reelection campaign, having an enormous base of volunteers who helped us in our campaign,” he said. “These are things I don't want us to waste -- I don't want that to atrophy.”
And while he won’t get a vote in determining the new House leadership, he said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deserves to stay on as Democratic leader.
“I don't think Nancy Pelosi is responsible for what happened this past Tuesday,” Grayson said. “I think she actually did her job well. Her job was to make sure that when the president asked the House to do something, she found the votes to do it. And she did that job extraordinarily well. I can't think of a single occasion in the past two years where she let the president down, where she let the Democratic Party down.”
Grayson continued: “I can't think of anybody else, in contention for that job, who would do a better job of making sure the Democrats are a cohesive, coherent whole that actually marches in the direction of progress and change.”
Watch the full interview with Rep. Alan Grayson HERE.
Also today, we checked in with Patricia Murphy of Politics Daily, on the incoming class of Republican freshman members, plus the latest rumblings surrounding Sarah Palin’s political future.
Watch that portion of “Top Line” HERE.