Just want to say, I'm delighted Nancy Pelosi has chosen to return to the fray as leader of the shrunken Democratic House contingent.
She's been my Congresscritter for a long time -- and I haven't always chosen to vote for her, as if that choice mattered. The only time it did matter, her first election, I worked for a more populist alternative. Though Pelosi prevailed, that campaign was one of the milestones on the way to progressive political power in our city.
Since Pelosi won the leadership job, San Franciscans might as well not have had a Congressmember because her constituency is less San Franciscans than her caucus, her fractious herd of Democratic members. I've been bitterly critical at times, distressed when it looked as if she was working the insider game to the detriment of both her constituents and progressives at large. From 2006 to 2008, it looked as if, though Democrats had won the House, she was more concerned with keeping the caucus together than with standing up to the odious President George W.
But, unlike most liberals with good intentions who play an insider game for years, promising they'll do good if they ever accumulate the power to do something, Pelosi spent her political capital over the last two years. Oh, she never was all we might want, wasn't pushing our cautious (dithering?) President to get the hell out of Afghanistan, prosecute the war criminals from the previous administration, or get serious about ensuring all of us health care, not just a chance to buy health insurance. But she reliably stuck up for what liberals could possibly win, never seemed to advocate just giving in to the naysayers, and herded her brood of Congresscritters far further than they wanted to go. It was an admirable performance.
Former Speakers don't always just go away if their party loses the majority. The Republicans who got in after 1994 have set that pattern, but this wasn't always the expectation. The legendary Democrat Sam Rayburn who ruled the House for his party in the 40s and 50s slipped in and out of the chair several times with changing electoral fortunes.
And apparently Pelosi is going to stay the course, rallying her caucus against the current crop of Teabaggers, know-nothings and corrupt fraudsters. The columnist E.J. Dionne summed up her attitude:
The entire column is worth reading.
If anyone can help dazed Democrats to remember they have spines, I suspect it might be my feisty Congresswoman. I won't let up on asking her to do more, but I think we'll all do better with her around and I'm glad she wants to stick it out a little longer.