February 27, 2007

A LESS THAN PERFECT RECORD for Nancy Pelosi so far:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is discovering the cold truth about governing with a slim majority: It’s much easier to promise behavioral change for Congress than to deliver it.

Pelosi vowed that five-day workweeks would be a hallmark of a harder-working Democratic majority. So far, the House has logged only one. Lawmakers plan to clock three days this week.

The speaker has denied Republicans a vote on their proposals during congressional debates — a tactic she previously declared oppressive and promised to end. Pelosi has opened the floor to a Republican alternative just once.

Pelosi set a high standard for herself when she pledged to make this “the most ethical Congress in history” — a boast that was the political equivalent of leading with her chin. And some critics have been happy to hit it. . . .

Pelosi seems to be following a familiar pattern. Twelve years ago, Speaker Newt Gingrich promised to reform the House and govern by principles of fairness and transparency. But, for leaders of both parties, the reality of ruling with a narrow majority translates into tight controls over floor debate, cozy relations with lobbyists and accommodating the needs of lawmakers (who hate working long weeks).

Read the whole thing. Some of this isn’t really her fault, but when you set the bar high, people are happy to point out when you fall short.