Pelosi's Ascension Signals Woman Power

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Tuesday's election results are more woman-friendly than even the most astute of Washington pundits has so far divined. All of a sudden, women are fashionable again in national politics.

Watching Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi's meeting with President Bush yesterday, I was struck by the president's utterance of the word "woman" in conjunction with another word, "historic." In fact, it's the first time I remember the president blurting out the word "woman," in singular or plural form, since his "W Stands for Women" campaign to woo female voters to the Republican side during each of his presidential campaigns.

He told Pelosi: "First, I want to congratulate Congresswoman Pelosi for becoming the speaker of the House, and the first woman speaker of the House. This is historic for our country. And as the father of young women, it is–I think it's important. I really do."

You go, guy! For her part, Pelosi has done a better job holding together the Democratic coalition than many of her predecessors. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton tells me Pelosi cajoled, lobbied, wooed, and persuaded her partisans to vote the party line 88 percent of the time in this Congress. That's a record that would be enviable even during times of majority control but even more so during the fractious times Democrats have just survived.

In September, I wrote about Pelosi's hard-fisted comebacks to GOP demonization of her as a San Francisco-style liberal. During the campaign, she gave as good as she got.

But she has become the textbook version of a bipartisan leader, as opposed to a partisan campaigner, since Tuesday's election results.