House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at work with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Nancy Pelosi isn’t as showy as some of her predecessors, but according to a profile in the Politico, the most powerful woman in American political history is firmly in control of her domain. Tom “the Hammer” DeLay says she is “the most powerful speaker in a generation—she will be able to do anything she wants.” As one anonymous lawmaker put it, “Whatever Nancy wants, Nancy gets.”
Pelosi hasn’t wowed with legislation, but she’s had to contend with a weak Senate and an opposition White House. That is about to change.
As Pelosi enters her third year as speaker, by any measure, she has become the most powerful woman in U.S. political history and is now preparing to wield her gavel in a way that few, if any, recent speakers could match. Even former Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, the architect of the 1994 Republican Revolution, pales in comparison. Pelosi is being mentioned by observers in the same breath as the legendary Sam Rayburn and Tip O’Neill, although she has yet to assemble a legislative record to match theirs.
[...] From top to bottom, she is a controlling presence in the House — Pelosi forbids her staff to use the word “I” in speeches. Pelosi has called politics “a free hedge-clipping service,” meaning that any pols who seek too much attention will get their head handed to them.