Is the impeccably groomed, stately looking, self-described "mother of five and grandmother of five" scaring Republican congressional leaders, or are they having a hard time getting their "groove" on while they learn to deal with a spitfire of a female opposition leader?
Some are crying "gender bias" over Republican attacks and counterattacks lobbed at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and her claim that if the Bush administration caught Osama bin Laden tomorrow, the country wouldn't be "any safer." Only problem is, she follows a long line of GOP leaders in making that claim, and top House Republicans such as Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter of California haven't chastised their fellow party members.
Earlier this week, Pelosi told reporters, "[E]ven if [bin Laden] is caught tomorrow, it is five years too late. He has done more damage the longer he has been out there. But, in fact, the damage that he has done is done. And even to capture him now I don't think makes us any safer."
Boehner's response: "I listen to my Democratic friends, and I wonder if they are more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people."
Hunter issued a statement calling Pelosi's comments ill-advised and adding that such talk "can only have a demoralizing effect on American troops and intelligence personnel who are currently risking their lives in the rugged mountain ranges and deserts of the Middle East in pursuit of Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants."
Why did they hold fire, then, when Vice President Cheney said the following on last week's Meet the Press?
"He's not the only source of the problem, obviously … If you killed [bin Laden] tomorrow, you'd still have a problem with al Qaeda, with Zawahiri and the others."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other Bush administration spokespersons have made similar statements.
Pelosi, however, doesn't shrink from controversy. In fact she's proving to be one of the toughest-talking Democratic congressional leaders in recent times. She never shies away from calling Republican execution of the war on terrorism "failed" or "incompetent." Maybe the good ol' boys on the Hill just need a little time to learn how to respond to high-decibel rhetoric from a woman in a way that doesn't blow back up in their faces like a live grenade.