Good argument from Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, “Minority leader Nancy Pelosi would play rough with GOP“:
… [O]ne of the most important roles of the new minority leader will be: to draw a very sharp line against GOP efforts to roll back Obama’s accomplishments…
The key thing to understand is that we’re about to enter a period of bruising procedural wars — precisely the type of thing that Pelosi has already excelled at. Republicans are already discussing ways to starve the new health-care law by, say, limiting funding to agencies that would implement portions of it or using spending bills to block federal insurance regulations they don’t like. The next minority leader will have to be ruthless in her willingness to use procedural tactics to combat this kind of stuff.
I just checked in with Norm Ornstein, a congressional expert and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and he confirmed the above reading of her role to me… he dismissed the idea that Dem losses last week are relevant, insisting that the new minority leader’s chief role will be to “hold the line against repeal and keep the troops together and use the limited weapons available to the minority to put the Republicans on the defensive.”
“She’s in a stronger position to do that than others,” Ornstein continued. “She showed in the last two years how strong she is as a strategist, and she may very well be able to use that strategic capacity to exacerbate some of the schisms that Republicans already have. She understands at least as well as anyone else how to use the process.”
However you feel about trusting an AEI shill like Ornstein, the Republicans have succeeded largely by refining their “strategic capacity” at this kind of legislative infighting. The GOP anathemizes Pelosi precisely because she’s been so effective at beating them with their own choice of weapons.
Sargent further points out that the NYTimes editorialized against Pelosi back in 2002, on the grounds that she wasn’t “a powerhouse on television.” The NYTimes is less interested in the Democrats keeping the Republicans from destroying what’s left of our suffering nation than they are in keeping the “political games” mediagenic. After all, the NYTimes editorial staff and its paid subscribers (see: plutonomy) are well-insulated from the real-world consequences of their favorite politics-is-just-another-sporting-event metaphors.