POLITICS
06/21/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rendell: Democratic Party Is Soulless, 'Cowering Behind The Shower Curtains'

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell had some harsh words for fellow Democrats on Tuesday night, accusing leadership of "cowering behind the shower curtain" as Republicans belittled their policies and proclaiming that the party is soulless.

In a panel discussion hosted by The Week magazine, the former DNC chair could at times barely contain his agitation with the statements coming from co-panelist, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va). Rendell accused Republicans of getting "religion" on the deficit at a convenient time (when there was a Democratic president in the White House). He also scoffed at the characterization the GOP had applied to the president economic recovery plan. "Eric is the best [at spin]," Rendell declared.

But the event was not without self-reflection. While the panel discussion was officially about the fight for the Republican Party's soul, Rendell seemed most concerned with the core and character of his fellow Democrats.

"I don't think we have a battle for our soul -- I think we have lost our soul," he said. "We have been cowed into [sic] stop talking about the things that made us Democrats in the first place; that we believe the government can and should make a difference in people's lives; that we can protect the most vulnerable in our society; that we can, in fact, give opportunities to people who haven't had it. And that government can be an important catalyst -- they can't do it by itself -- but they can be a catalyst for growth."

That's what we believe in. But [Republicans] have us cowering behind the shower curtains," he concluded.

The Huffington Post approached Rendell after the affair and asked him to elaborate on what, exactly, he meant by saying the Democratic Party is soulless.

"We have been out-spun and we are scared," he said. "And when you are scared, you can do one of two things: you can circle the wagons and hide inside or under the wagon, or you can get out and fight for what you believe in. I think we are starting -- President Obama started when he went to the Republican caucus -- to fight back and for what we believe in. If we do that, I think our losses will be much less [in 2010] than what anybody suspects."