Historians predict she will go down with the likes of Sam Rayburn and Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill as one of the country’s most effective, albeit partisan, speakers. Even Republicans, who relentlessly bashed Pelosi in campaign ads as a symbol of what’s wrong with Washington, consider her an able leader — they just didn’t like the direction in which she led.

“The problem with being effective is that you then have to live with the public judgment of the policies that you pass,” said UC Berkeley political scientist Bruce Cain. “If the country is divided about those policies, then half of the country is going to hate you and half are going to admire you.”