House Democrats were swept out of power because party leaders tried to hard to "appease" Republicans on major issues, said a high-profile member Thursday who lost his seat.
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said Democratic leaders should have been more aggressive and shut Republicans out of the negotiating process, arguing it would have helped them in Tuesday's midterm elections.
Even though Grayson — a liberal firebrand — was defeated Tuesday, he continues to have good standing on the left. He countered the Republican narrative of their midterm victories, that voters repudiated President Obama and his policies by booting Democrats from power in the House.
Grayson explained Thursday that Republicans' strategy of opposing the Democrats' big-ticket legislative items such as healthcare reform, the cap-and-trade energy bill and financial regulatory reform, helped them win back the House majority they lost in 2006.
"So they've got their strategy intact, our strategy for the last two years has been appeasement, look where that got us," he said. "I think Democrats want a fighting president, a fighting leadership" who act on items such as immigration reform and union card check legislation.
"We placed more than 100 GOP amendments into the healthcare reform bill, and we got next to no Republican votes," he added.
Grayson channeled the William Butler Yeats poem "The Second Coming," saying, "Sometimes, the center cannot hold. There is no center left."
The freshman Democrat attracted national attention in September 2009 for saying in a House floor speech that the Republicans' healthcare plan was for senior citizens to "die quickly."
Asked if he plans to make a political comeback, he said, "We'll see. If that's what the people want, then I'll be back."
This post was corrected at 3:55 p.m.