Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Speaker Pelosi?

The New York Times profiles Nancy Pelosi, who could actually become a more potent force in American politics than Hillary Clinton if the Democrats win back the House in November.

Hoping to win a Congressional majority in November, some optimistic Democratic lawmakers have taken to referring to Representative Nancy Pelosi as “speaker,” as in speaker of the House. So have some optimistic Republicans.

“She ought to be a big component of the fall campaign,” said Ed Rogers, a Republican strategist and lobbyist. “There are some Democrats who make really good bad guys.”

Ms. Pelosi, the California Democrat and House minority leader, lends herself to easy caricature by Republicans. She is an unapologetic liberal, with a voting record to match (the Republican National Committee chairman, Ken Mehlman, said she was neither a “New Democrat” nor an “Old Democrat” but a “prehistoric Democrat”). She is wealthy (married to an investment banker, she has assets listed at more than $16 million). She represents San Francisco, which Republicans love to invoke as a hotbed of counterculture decadence and extremism.

“Is America ready for Nancy Pelosi’s Contract With San Francisco?” asked Representative Ric Keller, Republican of Florida, posing a question that, one imagines, could form the basis of many Republican advertisements this fall.

So, the Republicans who scolded the Democrats for trying to make the mid-term elections about Tom DeLay and his corrupt empire and who warn them against making it a national election about the politics of personal destruction have no problem demonizing Nancy Pelosi.

To paraphrase Nelson Eddy, “Ah, sweet irony of life at last I’ve found thee…”