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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Friday, November 08, 2002



Lead, Follow, or Run For President

We will let our candle of sympathy for Richard Gephardt flicker briefly. He was a hero in 1998, when the Republicans had a bad election and Newt Gingrich stepped down. Now, Gephardt has stepped down as Minority Leader, amidst speculation that hs is contemplating a run for the Presidency.

In what we must presume to have been an unguarded moment with Adam Nagourney of the NY Times, Gephardt said the following:

I feel the need to step back and to take some moment and some time to better understand where the country is, where the country is going and what we need to be saying in terms of a vision or a set of new thinking for the future," Mr. Gephardt said.

He said it had been difficult to do that over a 14-month period in which the nation absorbed a succession of shocks, starting with the Sept. 11 attacks and continuing through the sniper attacks.

"I don't think we had the time and the ability to sit down and really think about where the country is and where the people are and what we need to suggest to transfer our values into today's circumstances," he said. "I don't have all the ideas yet to do it."


Well. It has been a confusing fourteen months, and I suppose we should admire his honesty in saying so. I, too, am confused. On the other hand, I am not planning to run for the Presidency.

Just what is Gephardt saying here? "I need more and better focus groups, and, frankly, I have lost confidence in my pollsters?" Or is it, more simply, "What should we as a nation be doing? Man, you're guess is as good as mine!"

Either way, as a crystal light of vision, courage and leadership, this falls short. And does Mr. Gephardt have a timetable for developing some ideas, as time and tide march on? Perhaps, given his union support, he can adopt the following slogan:

Gephardt: Leadership that's working.... to rule.




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