So don't be surprised if it isn't Pelosi among the Democrats who makes the strategically idiotic statement or pushes the politically suicidal proposal that will put the electoral chances of Democrats in significant danger by 2008.
That dubious honor instead will likely fall to a ragtag collection of liberal, loudmouthed chairpersons in line to take power. They'll probably become the bane of Speaker Pelosi's existence.
The chairs of committees have, ex officio, platforms on which to stick their feet into their mouths. When those members of Congress are with the minority party, their popping off can be dismissed with a shrug. But once they assume the mantle of power, the words of these same people become instant, loud news.
Exhibit A: Charles Rangel's take on federal appropriations for the state of Mississippi. He couldn't resist expressing his New York elitist disdain for the people of that southern state by rhetorically asking who in their right mind would want to live there. For Pelosi, those gratuitous remarks were probably just an hors d'oeuvre before the entrees of misstatements to come.
If Rangel were a lone loose cannon, Speaker Pelosi could monitor him and sleep well at night. But Rangel is not unique. Over the next year, there will be plenty of others among the old-guard Democrats who will have voters scratching their heads. That will force newly elected Democrats in more conservative districts to distance themselves from their "senior colleagues."
Truthfully, I didn't like Nancy Pelosi's politics when I interviewed her and don't particularly like them now. Even so, I enjoyed getting to know her. Having witnessed one speaker, Gingrich, take the reins of power from the opposing party, I know that Pelosi is going to be one busy woman. Unfortunately for her, much of her valuable time will be wasted in having to ride herd over her crazy crew of leaders as they set about unintentionally but effectively moving to throw away the political might they have just gained after so much time in the political dungeon.
Just think: If Charlie Rangel has his way, your child's draft number might be coming up sometime in the near future. That idea alone could be manna from heaven for the beleaguered Republican Party.