One other thing: It turns out this isn't the first time The New York Times has opposed Pelosi for minority leader. Back in 2002 the paper editorialized against her candidacy on the same grounds as today, noting archly that she "isn't a powerhouse on television."As Sargent goes on to say, none of that stopped the Dems, with Pelosi as Minority Leader, from winning the 2006 elections.
Overall, I don't think that House Minority Leader is a very important job...what's more at stake here is who would become Speaker if the Democrats have a rapid comeback in the next cycle or so. Still, there are a couple of obvious things to point out. First, what really matters in any of these positions is how effective leaders are inside Congress, not on TV. The GOP just won a huge landslide despite having, as far as I can tell, practically no one among their politicians who could effectively make their case on television. Surely not John Boehner -- I think he's a good pol, but can you imagine anyone more poorly suited to leading a populist charge than John Boehner? And surely not Mitch McConnell, either. Just as neither Harry Reid or, perhaps, Nancy Pelosi was a terrific messenger in 2006, and it didn't matter at all.
Second, I'm not much for shows of backbone, but I do think it would be foolish for Democrats to drop their leaders any time they become controversial. That's just an invitation for Republicans to choose Democratic leaders, disqualifying anyone who appears effective. The Times claims that "If Ms. Pelosi had been a more persuasive communicator, she could have batted away the ludicrous caricature of her painted by Republicans across the country as some kind of fur-hatted commissar jamming her diktats down the public’s throat." But that's simply not true for those who listen to Rush and Beck; it doesn't matter a bit how well Pelosi sells her message, since those people are not listening. As for the rest of the nation, Pelosi is unpopular to the extent that people are unhappy with a terrible economy and people generally don't like Congress, anyway. Replace her with someone else, and that person will promptly be demonized, as well.