Through a combination of private huddles, public displays of support during recent controversies and closed-door chiding when she feels like they’ve gone too far, Pelosi has engendered a pool of goodwill with the newcomers that goes a long way, even when they may be at odds with her otherwise.
“You don’t want to be condescending, but you also have to be courageous enough to say, ‘This is how we’re going to do this,’ in the right way,” Pelosi told POLITICO recently when asked how she addresses the freshmen.
And so far, the Pelosi approach — a mix of her Italian grandmother sensibilities combined with an appeal to her activism roots and a “school mistress sternness,” as one member put it — seems to be working…
In her first three months back in the speaker’s chair, Pelosi has sought to stay close to her new freshman class by planning meetings twice a month, as well as regular check-ins on the House floor. At a recent members-only dinner for the Democrats’ campaign arm, Pelosi was one of the last people there, making a point to sit at nearly every table to get face time with as many lawmakers as possible.