The Note: The First Woman Speaker

"Who will be the next Speaker of the House, number three in the line of succession to the President? Will it be Denny Hastert, whose leadership is helping us take on the enemy, or Nancy Pelosi, who said less than a year after 9/11 'I don't really consider ourselves at war.' . . . As foreign jihadists call into the United States, do we do use NSA technology to stop sleeper cells before they hit us… or do we surrender the use of this technology, as Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean would have us do? . . . Picture Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who called the President 'an incompetent leader' and 'irresponsible.'"

We want to assure you we don't stand with those in our caucus who are privately proposing a "duck and cover" or "submersion" strategy, which basically calls for you to be invisible. This camp is too swayed by our own polling showing you are not an effective messenger, but they're in such a swivet about it that they might as well be followers of the Republican consultants who contend that your photo has Newt-like effects on small children.

No, Brendan and Jen didn't for nothing spend all these years massaging your image behind the scenes and prepping you for those Speaker-dry-run news conferences in your office so majestic it could almost belong to the majority. Except, of course, for all the huge White House-style bowls of roses.

It's too late for you to adopt the Harry Reid "vanilla" model. But we do think you can show yourself to be the asset that you truly are by doing something bold on substance and on style. You are indeed a lioness, and from that flows all.

On substance, we need to quickly find the opportunity for your Sister Souljah moment BUT it can't look staged or concocted, a contradiction in terms that even one of your favorite reporters, Patrick O'Connor of The Hill, might struggle to reconcile. And it needs to be big. So we're thinking you might support a trade bill on the grounds that it's good for national security and America's role in the world, as opposed to kowtowing to unions or some other Democratic interest groups.

It just can't be too clumsy. For instance, some members of our caucus aren't so wild about standing up for those prayers or moments of silence that Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) has been instituting at the beginning of caucus meetings. It bugs our members that Republicans wear their faith on their sleeves, and we don't need to be doing the same thing.

On the style side, we're thinking you might want to consider dressing down a bit -- almost casual Friday wear -- for some of your appearances. People always see you dressed to the nines, coiffed, made up in a parlor-like, high-ceilinged setting. It gives them the wrong idea about this grandmother, as Brendan and Jen have taken to styling you. Maybe one of our targets should be to get you into a Target. Soften you up, so voters can see the real you.

Finally, we have to address the unpleasant issue of whether there will be competition for Speaker if (strike that -- WHEN) we RECLAIM our majority. There could be a fight. The press doesn't get it, but Rahm is so cautious and smart that he's not going to challenge you unless he knows he'll win, and that's not clear from the head-counting we've done.

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