Nancy Pelosi has been Speaker of the House for four years, the first woman to hold that position. During her tenure, she has arguably been one of the most effective Speakers ever to hold the position. She has maintained the discipline of the House and, more importantly, the discipline of her Democratic caucus, a process often compared to herding cats.
When the economy of the country and the world tanked during the last years of the Bush administration, she worked with members of that administration, regardless of political differences, to stave off disaster. She helped get the Bush bank bailout package passed. For her efforts she was later vilified by Republicans and demonized as if she had been the author of that package, even though she got it passed at the behest of Bush and his Treasury officials.
When the Democrats won big in 2008, she worked with the Democratic White House to get their agenda through Congress. She was remarkably successful, passing just about every initiative presented by the White House. Health Care Reform. Wall Street Reform. Financial Recovery Act to stimulate the sick economy, an act, by the way, which gave tax cuts to 95% of Americans. College Loan Reform. Increase in the minimum wage (first time in 10 years). All of these and many more were passed under her strong leadership. Many initiatives were passed by her Congress only to get bogged down in the arcane and anti-democratic structure of the Senate, but that's another story.
What did she get for all this hard work on behalf of the American people? She was demonized, vilified, called every vile name in the book by Republicans, and even some of her Democratic caucus ran away from her during the recent election. They were the Blue Dogs of the caucus and, interestingly, almost every one who repudiated Pelosi's leadership lost. Perhaps there is some justice after all.
Now some of the surviving members of the Blue Dog Democrats are saying they will oppose Pelosi for Minority Leader in the next Congress. In fact, she hasn't said yet whether she will run for the position. I hope she does and I hope she wins. She is one of the few Democrats in the legislative branch of government today that I can truly, unabashedly admire. She is a strong woman, a strong leader, and, god knows, we need strong leadership at this time.
So, thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for all that you have done for ungrateful Americans. History will judge your Speakership. I expect it will judge kindly.
UPDATE: Here's more (and much better written!) commentary on the subject.