January 4, 2007 may be remembered as the date when Nancy Pelosi became queen for the day.
There she was on network television. There she was on cable television. Surrounded by grandchildren. A baby in her arms. But, despite the warm-and-cuddly photo op, Pelosi and crew were not celebrating motherhood, or even grandmotherhood. They were lauding and applauding power, pure and simple.
Pelosi giddily proclaimed, “The Democrats are back. " These are the words not of someone acting as Speaker of the House, but as a strictly partisan person. For all the talk of bipartisanship, the Pelosi operation is a Democratic ship.
But, before long, distress calls may be heard, as the ship sails into troubled political waters.
Right now, Pelosi and her sidekick, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are trying to get a great deal of mileage out of the war in Iraq. In fact, Reid, a Nevada Democrat, was quoted as saying, “No issue in our country is more important than finding an end to this intractable war. " With characteristic Democratic bravado, Reid then intoned, “Completing the mission in Iraq is the President’s job, and we will do everything in our power to ensure he fulfills it. "
But how exactly are the Democrats going to accomplish that feat? My guess is that they will simply try to attack every military move the President makes. That loyal opposition strategy may work for a while, but, sooner or later, voters are likely to come to the conclusion that the President and his military advisors are for more capable of running a war than a San Francisco liberal in a designer suit.
For the first time since 1994, Democrats have complete control of Congress. We’re told it’s a new day on Capitol Hill—but is it, really? Can you really be called a party of change when an old war horse like Senator Edward Kennedy is hauled out to become a committee chairman? Rather than bringing us fresh ideas, Democratic leaders seem to simply be offering us more of the same old liberal agenda.
Perhaps Rep. John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said it best when he stated, “Republicans will hold the incoming majority accountable for its promises, and its actions. "
So will voters. They’ll remember Pelosi’s promises to end the “culture of corruption" in the halls of Congress. If there is even the hint of scandal in the offices of Democratic leaders, chances are voters will abandon the Democratic ship and board the craft marked GOP.
It’s important, too, that Democrats remember that a Republican still controls the White House. And he wields a tool more powerful than Pelosi’s gavel—the veto pen. Thank goodness there is someone around to remind Pelosi that even the queen for the day is not all powerful. To be an effective leader, she’ll have to be willing to work with those on the other side of the aisle—as well as the guy on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue. If Pelosi becomes too brash, it could touch off a feud even worse than the Rosie O’Donnell—Donald Trump fight.