When we won back the House in 2006, the hope of regulating the Republicans was restored, somewhat. Unfortunately, nobody had the stomach to raise the stakes on the Republicans and go after their crimes. Why? Because Democrats, as Pelosi said at the time, despite the fact we'd been treated unfairly by the GOP when they had the majority:
“are not about getting even” with Republicans. Pelosi NYT
The leadership, perhaps mistakenly, thought that with the Republicans electorally rebuked in 2006, the Republicans would behave like normal people. For that reason despite the fact that the GOP had:
“frequently excluded Democrats from conference committee hearings and ... blocked attempts to introduce amendments, would not suffer similar treatment. Pelosi NYT
We knew that the country could only prosper if the two parties can work together and so she:
“pledge[d] civility and bipartisanship in the conduct of the work here and we ... partnerships with Congress and the Republicans in Congress, and the president — not partisanship.” Pelosi NYT
Bipartisanship and getting the work of a functional Government was more important, to her, than duking it out with partisan Republicans. We really thought we could work with the Republicans.
Equal Application of the Law IS Justice
The trouble is, they had revealed who they were when they had the majority during the Bush Administration, and before, when they had impeached Bill Clinton on petty charges when they had a majority before. Extending an olive branch to unreconstructed bullies, just encourages them to escalate. As my Wife had explained about teaching:
“If you show up on the first day of class extending an olive branch and talking about how much fun the semester will be, some students might respond well, but most will see that as weakness and walk all over you.”
My Wife would lay down the law on the first day of class. Her students either loved her or dropped the class, but they learned from her. And most came to love her because she enforced discipline. The constitution is an overarching discipline, ethic, that shouldn't require external power to enforce, but when it does, it has to be done from the beginning of a person's tenure or it is lost.