A House speaker, whether in Washington or in a state capital, is elected by his or her caucus based on how she delivers what members need. Nancy Pelosi has helped Democrats in the House raise money, get elected, serve their constituents and get their projects enacted into law, so, by that standard, it's no surprise she has the support of most of her colleagues in her announced bid to stand for minority leader.

A House speaker, whether in Washington or in a state capital, is elected by his or her caucus based on how she delivers what members need. Nancy Pelosi has helped Democrats in the House raise money, get elected, serve their constituents, and get their projects enacted into law, so, by that standard, it's no surprise she has the support of most of her colleagues in her announced bid to stand for minority leader.


The speaker is not the leader of her party, though both parties have found it politically advantageous to pretend that's the case. Republicans demonized Tip O'Neill in '86, shown in their campaign commercials driving a fancy car and throwing taxpayers' money to the winds. Democrats demonized Newt Gingrich just as brutally in the '90s.


This year, Republicans did a pretty good job of demonizing Pelosi. Now there are demands, from both sides of the aisle, that she step down because her party lost control of the House. Democrats are free, of course, to consider another candidate, for whatever reason. The only advantage we can see is that if Pelosi were replaced, Republicans would have to invest time and resources in demonizing whoever took her place. Which, of course, they would do.


But here's our question: Back in 2006, when Pelosi's Democrats took control of the House, and in 2008, when they increased their numbers, does anyone remember any calls for John Boehner or other House GOP leaders to step down? Were there demands made by Democrats - or by the media - that "accountability" required GOP resignations, that Republicans should find new leaders more willing to compromise with Democrats? Of course not. Republicans don't let Democrats choose their leaders, nor do they interpret a defeat at the polls as reason why they should abandon their principles and compromise with Democrats.


At this point, the only time Congressional Republicans abandon a principle is if Barack Obama embraces it. To the tea party set, compromise is another word for treason. While they demand the Democrats compromise in response to the voters' decidedly mixed message - compromises Democrats seem all too willing to make - Republicans have made it clear that the only compromise they'll accept is one that includes everything they want and nothing the Democrats want.


Tea party-backed candidates have already defeated Republicans they thought compromised too much with Democrats in the last session, and are threatening primary challenges against any Republicans who dare work with Democrats in the next session. If that's the case, it doesn't matter who the Democrats choose as minority leader.


MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News