Unfortunately, Pelosi’s openly feminist approach — as well as her disingenuous self-portrait of a housewife who just sort of stumbled upon political power (in fact, she was a canny operator who, over 23 years in Congress, carefully out-strategized the competition to ascend to the top of the party’s hierarchy) — allowed conservatives to caricature her all too easily. The attacks were vicious. A Republican National Committee campaign, “Fire Pelosi,” made careful, mocking use of her official title, “Madam Speaker.” When she criticized Gen. Stanley McChrystal for one of his many intemperate public comments about the administration’s Afghanistan strategy, ignoring chain of command, the Republican National Campaign Committee spokesperson said, “Taxpayers can only hope McChrystal is able to put her in her place”—barefoot and in the kitchen, presumably, far away from important matters of war and peace.
I never had any hostility towards Pelosi--why would I?--but I was long mystified at why people loved her so. There was a snotty little arch-Democrat at my community college who absolutely revered her, talked about how wonderful she was, in my American Government class. This was in 06-07, the prelude and beginning of Pelosi's speakership, and this gay Las Vegas liberal was positively gaga for the San Fran Speaker.
I didn't get it, and continued not to until last winter's Health Care Reform wrangling. Pelosi was the only one of the Democratic leadership not to go ballistic in the wake of Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts, and she went right on and tamed her liberal caucus to hold their nose again and vote for the flawed Senate bill.
It was around that time that I noticed how much other legislation she had gotten passed--financial regulation, Cap-and-Trade..... This was impressive too, but it was her steely resolve in seeing the troubled health care bill to completion that made me realize how effective a legislator she is.