When I ran against Pelosi, she adamantly refused to debate, and we had to literally hunt her down by mau-mauing her "constituent meetings," which were invariably staged events that allowed for little interplay with the audience. I did catch her unawares, however, by showing up at one such gathering, shaming her into giving me the microphone, and warning the audience that Pelosi's infatuation with "humanitarian" interventions, in the Balkans and the Middle East, would soon lead us down the path to war. The local television station captured this moment, with me pointing an accusatory finger in the future Speaker's direction, wondering aloud how many body-bags it would require before the voters took notice.
Ten years have passed, and my accusation – or was it a prediction? – turns out to have been all too accurate: Pelosi & Co. have just shepherded enough funds to keep the war machine grinding up our troops and the Iraqi people until September, while the Democratic "withdrawal" plans all involve sanctioning a permanent U.S. outpost in Iraq, to be guarded in perpetuity by a "residual" army of occupation.
And Raimondo handicaps Sheehan's chances:
People are sick and tired of Pelosi and what she represents: a smug, decadent, corrupted "liberalism" that would extend the long arm of Washington into our lives and the lives of people all around the globe. San Francisco deserves better, and may just get it. I realize that the pundits and political mavens are going to dismiss the chances of an upstart like Sheehan beating the speaker of the House, but Pelosi really does have a glass jaw. The Green Party candidate for mayor, Matt Gonzalez, nearly beat "mainstream" liberal Democrat Gavin Newsom a few years back, and the Greenies are a force to be reckoned with – especially if the central issue of the campaign is the Iraq war, as it is bound to be with Sheehan running. Sheehan could win, because San Francisco is that kind of town – a place where national trends are rehearsed before they go "mainstream" in the rest of the country.
Actually Sheehan has said she'll run as an independent, not a Green, although I've put a call into the local GP to see if they'd run her.
Worth pointing out: the "aggrieved parent running against national leader" gambit was tried recently, in the UK's 2005 general election, when a man named Reg Keys ran against Tony Blair. He came in a poor fourth with 10.3 percent of the vote (and had 103 siphoned away by the Blair Must Go Party), but in the UK you get to appear onstage and make a speech with the other candidates, and Keys got an unforgettable confrontation out of that.