With Nancy Pelosi, we witnessed one of the political greats

When writing thousands of columns about American politics, there are some you'd like to have back. The worst I ever wrote was in 2010, calling on then-House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to step aside.

The Democrats had just lost 63 seats in the midterm elections; I reasoned that “shellacking,” as President Obama termed it, called for a change in leadership. Diane Dewhirst, a top aide, cautioned me that was wrong and would not be forgotten.

That stupid column — had ...