Let the Nancy Pelosi honeymoon begin. Sure, the current House Democratic minority leader hasn't even won a House majority yet, and it is traditional for honeymoons to follow, rather than anticipate, the blessed event. But the media can't help themselves, not when they are tingling with anticipation over the prospect of a Democratic victory.
Say what you will about Pelosi, but it is a matter of record that she's far left of the center of American politics; her rating from the liberal lobbying group Americans for Democratic Action is routinely a 100 percent. That she enforces party loyalty; her Democrats voted along party lines 88 percent of the time last year, a record for the past 50 years. That she has primarily occupied herself with blocking legislation in the House; she has tried to kill practically every Republican initiative, no matter how small. That she uses tough rhetoric; Republicans are, according to Pelosi, "corrupt," "incompetent" and running a "criminal enterprise."
There's nothing wrong with any of this. Politicians should have deep convictions, and they should work to organize their party around them and to defeat the opposition. Nor is there anything wrong with sharp rhetorical elbows. But the press usually professes to like none of these qualities, and typically dubs someone possessing them as "radical," "partisan," "obstructionist" and "mean-spirited."
Instead, in a typical media treatment, The Washington Post finds Pelosi a "tough-minded tactician." She has "kept the fractious House Democrats in line." She has "thwarted many GOP initiatives" by having the Democrats "hang together." Yes, Republicans "claim" she is an obstructionist, but that's just the sort of name-calling Republicans always engage in, now isn't it?
She's definitely not "casually reckless" in attacking her enemies. Not "ruthless." Not "authoritarian." Not a "bomb-thrower." Not given to "slash and burn, knife and smear" tactics. And, of course, not "mad as hell" or riding "a surge of voter anger."
All those descriptions were applied to Newt Gingrich when he won the speakership in 1994. Now, it is certainly true that Pelosi is personally more sympathetic than Gingrich. She's much prettier, and is, by all accounts, a wonderful mother and grandmother. But the difference between the way Gingrich and she have been described in the press comes down to whether you agree with him or her -- and the media take her side every time.