If the MRC had an annual Charlie Gibson Award for Praise of Nancy Pelosi, I'd have to think Financial Times reporter Stephanie Kirchgaessner would be in the running for the 2008 prize.
In a news analysis piece in the July 28 paper -- "Energy crisis sees Pelosi run a tight ship for Democrats" -- Kirchgaessner praised Pelosi's parliamentary prowess:
Steering the Democrats' response to the energy crisis without alienating environmentalists or the struggling middle class could prove to be one of the biggest tests Ms Pelosi will face this year. Her record suggests that the speaker will respond to the challenge with astute political manoeuvring, showing once again that, though she is labelled a "San Francisco liberal", the roots of her political education lie in the rough and tumble world of Baltimore, where her father was mayor.
Yes, congressional approval ratings are in the cellar, Kirchgaessner admitted later in her article, but you've got to admire how Pelosi can crack the whip and keep her caucus in line:
In the 20 months since she became the first female speaker of the House, a position that puts her second in the line of succession to become president, the congresswoman from San Francisco has proven herself to be a pragmatic and iron-fisted leader of the traditionally fractious Democratic caucus.
Under her leadership, Democrats have backed the majority position 91 per cent of the time, the highest so-called "unity score" Democrats have achieved in 51 years.
She achieved that, says one senior Republican lobbyist, by taking cues from the former Republican speaker Newt Gingrich: centralising power in her office and, when necessary, side-stepping powerful committee chairmen by creating ad hoc committees to tackle sensitive issues such as global warming.