Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Neal predicts Democratic win

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

CHICOPEE Congressman Richard Neal predicted that nationally the Democratic Party would make "considerable gains" in the mid-term elections.

Neal shared his views last week with the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce at its annual Legislative Luncheon on Thursday.

Noting that every presidential administration can suffer from voter fatigue, Neal said that Iraq dominates discussions and the war was "not executed in the way it was explained."

He noted that American troops have now been in Iraq longer than they were engaged from World War II, and he said that "everyone" in the nation's capitol agrees that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld must resign.

While he said he doesn't have a crystal ball, Neal said he expects to see changes in not only New York and Connecticut's Congressional delegation, but around the nation as well. He added it would give him some satisfaction to see former Texas Congressman and House majority leader Tom Delay's seat go to a Democrat.

"What do the democrats have to offer? The best thing we have to offer is we're not them," he said.

The economy is also looming large in the election, Neal added. He recalled a conversation with President Bill Clinton in which Neal told Clinton he didn't know one republican businessperson who was planning to vote for Vice President Al Gore. Neal admitted he was upset because there had been great prosperity during the Democratic administration.

Clinton said the solution was easy to understand, Neal recalled. "'I gave them prosperity, but Bush will give them a tax cut,'" Neal said Clinton replied.

The reward for a growing economy was for the Democrats to be put in the minority, Neal said.

Business people who are concerned that a Democratic controlled House would "tilt wildly to the left" should worry, Neal said. He described the current party as "restrained" and will have a slight majority.

Looking at the 2008 presidential race, Neal said the front-runners at this point are New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Arizona Senator John McCain. He noted that to win a nomination Democrats have to veer toward the left during the primary season and Republicans toward the right. He blamed the current primary system for polarizing the election process and for allowing a "handful" of people from Iowa and New Hampshire to dominate the process.

He reported that Massachusetts Senator John Kerry would seek the Democratic nomination again.