Suddenly Republicans rather like Nancy Pelosi. After an election season highlighted by RNC Chairman Michael Steele's "Fire Pelosi" bus tour and a "Fire Pelosi" sign hung over their national headquarters door, the GOP is taking a different tack toward the outgoing speaker. As of this afternoon the sign over the RNC headquarters door reads, "Hire Pelosi."
Pelosi of course announced this afternoon that she is going to try to keep her leadership position in the party, running for House minority leader. As our Washington Whispers noted last week, with the Democratic caucus in the next Congress being more liberal (what with all the Blue Dogs looking for alternative employment), Pelosi seems fairly safe.
Apparently the folks at the RNC are thinking along the same lines as TJS blogger Ron Bonjean, who wrote earlier this afternoon:
If Speaker Pelosi is elected House minority leader, she will be handing Republicans the keys to the House of Representatives for years to come. House Republicans and the media will use her position as the symbol of failed leadership at every chance they get. Her partisan style will likely be the undoing of the White House looking to build bridges to Republicans in order to create bipartisan victories. And Pelosi will be the symbol of gridlock and obstructionism over the next two years.
Says RNC spokesman Doug Heye: "If 'Fire Pelosi' was a message that caught fire and helped Republicans take back the House, Democrats hiring Pelosi as minority leader may well help us keep the house."
We'll see. Trying to keep Pelosi as a bogeyman may turn out to be as helpful for GOPers as keeping George W. Bush around was for Democrats. Stay tuned.