An opening for Pelosi

She doesn’t know it yet, but the week following the July Fourth congressional recess, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has an opportunity to step up on behalf of her party and lead the House, at least, out of its current gridlock over the debt-limit debate.

What prompts me to say such a thing is that all eyes are now focused on the president, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). That combo alone should cause someone of her great pride and sense of leadership to want to get in the mix.

But set egos aside for a moment, because that’s what ultimately trips up the players in this town. No, the former House Speaker can and should insert herself into the mix by extending an olive branch to the man who bested her and her party and offer to assist House Republicans with a way out of this stalemate.

There are many plus sides to this tactic. Pelosi knows House R's could easily roll her and the Democrats in the chamber. She also knows she’s fewer than two dozen seats from reclaiming the majority. And despite what she told reporters a few weeks ago, that her party is in the minority, they don’t have to lead, I believe she could leverage her position for a long-term good.

Think about it: Republicans hold a tenuous grasp on the majority to begin with. Democrats also have now secured the election-year cudgel with which they will bash House Republicans (Medicare). But Pelosi has nothing to offer the voters come next November. No new plan or even a good reason why voters should send her party back to Washington in 2012 with the majority.

If she negotiates a deal with Republicans, she can prove to the country that her party is the one interested in solutions and compromise. That Democrats are no longer the party of “no” and they can not only protect vital programs such as Medicare, they’re also in touch with the harsh realities facing this country.

What else does she have to stand on if she disregards this window of opportunity? Nothing. Even the White House is quietly questioning her strength outside of her fundraising prowess. And if President Obama is reelected, the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue will be forced to deal with the current leadership vacuum in the House. Democrats simply cannot do the things for the country Obama wants to do with the stale, same old guard in control.

Something to think about in the coming weeks.