Thursdays are usually uneventful but yesterday was a historic day. Nancy D’Allesandro Pelosi became the first person to regain the Speakership since Sam Rayburn in 1955. In some ways, Mister Sam and NDP are similar: Rayburn was a stern, loving, and forgiving patriarch to the Democratic caucus of his day. Substitute matriarch and that description fits Nancy Smash to a T.
I love watching swearing-in days on Capitol Hill and this one was particularly joyful as Speaker Pelosi invited the children of members to join her on the podium as she was sworn in. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few Republican kids joined in the scrum.
I’ve always been a Pelosi fan. She combines the best qualities of a reformer and a machine politician. She comes by the latter honestly: her father and brother were both Mayors of Baltimore. The Maryland delegation all referred to her as Nancy D’Allesandro Pelosi as did possible future Speaker Hakeen Jeffries who also called her NDP. I like it as it evokes another tough, wily, and brilliant broad, RBG. I plan to steal it now that I’ve given Rep, Jeffries credit.
I’m a sucker for roll calls and this one was a pip. One of my favorite moments was when Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis cast his vote, “Make America Great Again: Nancy Pelosi.” Yeah you right, Steve.
The euphoria will soon fade but the House is in good hands. NDP might not be the best public speaker BUT she’s a brilliant inside player. Michael Steele was chairman of the RNC in 2010, and he’s admitted that they demonized Nancy Smash because she was so “damn effective.”
There was a brief moment in Nancy Pelosi’s life when she worried she had too much power. She had so many titles in the California Democratic Party, including chairwoman, that she told Lindy Boggs, a Louisiana congresswoman, that she was thinking of giving some up.
That was in 1984, and Ms. Boggs “said, ‘Darlin’, no man would ever think that. Don’t you give anything up,’” Ms. Pelosi said in a recent interview, leaning forward as she mimicked Ms. Boggs’s Southern accent. “And then she said, ‘Know thy power.’”
Yeah you right, Lindy.
Finally, I cannot resist pointing out that Tony Bennett, Tim Gunn, and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart were among Nancy Smash’s invited guests yesterday. I had somehow missed the Pelosi-Dead connection previously but it tickles me:
The fact that the 78-year-old Pelosi loves the Dead isn’t surprising. After all, she represents California’s 12th district, which is comprised of tie-dyed ground zero San Francisco, a city practically synonymous with the Dead. Pelosi, conveniently, happens to be a huge fan. Back in 2015, a source spotted Pelosi at a show during the Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead tour and told the San Francisco Chronicle that the congresswoman “was definitely free-form dancing.” She was also spotted heading backstage during intermission to say hello to Hart.
Loving the Dead is apparently a tradition in the Pelosi clan. “It’s a tough competition in my family for the favorite Grateful Dead song. For myself, it’s ‘Fire on the Mountain,’” the House speaker told fashion designer Tori Burch’s Tory Daily blog in 2015. “‘Ripple,’ however, has been a Pelosi family lullaby for years now. My daughter Christine has sung it to my granddaughter ever since she was three months old, and now my granddaughter sings it herself.”
The last word goes to the Grateful Dead and Jimmie Dale Gilmore with apologies to John B. Sebastian: