Politico went out of their way this week to run one of those touchy-feely, tug at your heartstrings stories which is sure to have us all feeling better about the future, singing Bob Dylan tunes and doing trust falls outside of the congressional cloakrooms. It was the 25th anniversary of Nancy Pelosi serving in Congress, and Steny Hoyer joined in with Speaker John Boehner to mark the moment.
After a generation in the rough-and-tumble world of Capitol Hill, few things in politics surprise House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi these days.
But she was caught off guard Thursday when the House temporarily stopped its work so House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) could pay tributes to her on the House floor marking her 25th anniversary in Congress.
It was a rare, warm-and-fuzzy moment in the normally partisan chamber as Boehner and Pelosi shared a hug and Hoyer recalled the first time he met Pelosi (in 1962, in the office of former Sen. Daniel Brewster, D-Md.).
Awww… that’s just touching, isn’t it? Politico goes on to talk warmly about the many compliments being showered upon everyone involved and the general sense of “What a Wonderful Life” which imbued the hallowed chamber. And John Boehner actually was very flattering (in a professional way) and cordial to his rival. But I was watching the video this morning and caught the end of former Speaker Pelosi’s remarks. The video follows, along with a partial transcript. You can fast forward to the 13:15 mark to hear them, unless you’d prefer to sit through Steny comparing Pelosi to Thomas Jefferson.
So I thank you Mr. Speaker for your kind words. While, as you said, we did not always agree on taxes, we did at one time when President Bush was President. And we worked together at that time when we worked on his stimulus package which was tax oriented, you’ll remember that, and it was good for the country, and it was a good model for us to go forward.
Really? Everyone in the chamber is in the middle of singing your praises, including the leader of the other party, and you have to take a moment out to get in a shot about how “wrong” he is about not wanting to jack up everyone’s taxes? For an occasion such as this you might think that simply thanking your family and all of your constituents for their many years of support would suffice. Or, if you wanted to get in a good natured shot at the opposition, something along the lines of, “Watch out because I’ll be looking to take that gavel back this November” would do. Everyone would have laughed and nobody would have criticized you for it. (In fact, she did include a comment about it “not being fun” to give the gavel back to Boehner after that, but she could easily have left it there.)
She also apparently didn’t think the list of credits tacked on to her name were sufficient, since after she had been referred to as the “first woman Speaker of the House” she jumped in to add, “First Italian-American Speaker of the House, first Maryland Speaker of the House, first California Speaker of the House… many firsts.”
OK. We get the point. You’re a legend.
My dad used to be fond of using a phrase from his days in the Army which referenced people who were so messed up that they could, “*** up a soup sandwich.” I still don’t really know what that means, but today I think it really applies to Pelosi.