Nancy Pelosi and I have something in common in addition to having been House Speaker and grandparents.
We both occasionally allow caution to be overwhelmed by our enthusiasm for an idea, with the resultant public relations consequences. One wonders what Speaker Pelosi was thinking when she went to Damascus to meet with the Syrian dictator. When the White House asked her not to do it, she would have gained points by cooperating. Take it from one Speaker to another: too much enthusiasm has consequences.
Still, Speaker Pelosi, 67, is and will always be a historic figure. She is the first woman ever to become Speaker of the Houseand she earned it. She spent years back home in California as a Democratic Party activist and fund raiser. When she won a congressional seat, she rose through the ranks of her colleagues by being a hardworking, smart and disciplined professional. No one should underestimate how much time, effort and courage went into her career.
Prior to last fall, the House Democrats had failed for six straight elections to regain control of the Housetheir worst losing streak since the 1920s. Pelosi and Congressman Rahm Emanuel recognized that recruiting moderate candidates was the key to ending that losing streak. Today there are 61 Democrats in districts President George W. Bush carried in 2004. To reverse their fortunes, Republicans not only have to come to grips with what they've been doing wrong. They have to come to grips with what Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats have learned to do right.
Gingrich is a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
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