Well, it's official -- there's a woman running the House. This afternoon, Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as speaker of the House, making her third in line for the presidency, after the vice president. Amid the discussions of Pelosi's "toughness" enabling her to break through that "marble ceiling," the press indulged in mercifully fewer fashion quips (they had to mention the "signature pearls" and the purple suit) and mother-of-five metaphors than they have previously. For her part, Pelosi has promised to fast-track her initial agenda before President Bush's State of the Union speech on Jan. 23 -- including implementing a minimum-wage hike and recommendations of the 9/11 commission, ending tax breaks for oil and gas companies, and giving Medicare the right to negotiate bulk price discounts.
Looking for news in all the wrong places, some conservative publications focused on Pelosi's refusal to change the rules limiting C-SPAN coverage to close-up shots of members of Congress, implying that the decision contradicted her promise to make Congress more open. Plus, some Christian pro-life groups planning to attend Pelosi's "Open House for the People's House" have gotten their knickers in a twist about the possibility that the event might be invitation-only, and have already scheduled a press conference on the matter. Ah well: We hope Pelosi enjoys her moment of glory and then gets to work -- between the war, the deficit and the deplorable state of Washingtons ethics, theres so much riding on her leadership now that any further discussions of her party-planning skills or choice of earrings are a dangerous distraction.