“I think you want to enjoy being old. I don’t think you want to spend your final days fighting with Kevin McCarthy about how many seats you get on Appropriations.” https://t.co/tHzKZBfVzY
— Nancy Cook (@nancook) January 21, 2023
Surprising narrator, still a fun read. Gift (unpaywalled) read:
…I went to lunch with Nancy Pelosi at the Four Seasons to find out how she was faring, now that she has gone from being one of the most powerful women in the world — second in line to the presidency — and one of the most formidable speakers in American history to a mere House backbencher.
I was expecting King Lear, howling at the storm, but I found Gene Kelly, singing in the rain. Pelosi was not crying in her soup. She was basking as she scarfed down French fries, a truffle-butter roll and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts — all before the main course. She was literally in the pink, ablaze in a hot-pink pantsuit and matching Jimmy Choo stilettos, shooting the breeze about Broadway, music and sports. Showing off her four-inch heels, the 82-year-old said, “I highly recommend suede because it’s like a bedroom slipper.”
Fans dropped by our booth to thank Pelosi, and women in the restaurant gave me thumbs-ups, simply because I was sitting with her.
“I wonder, Maureen, girl to girl, I keep thinking I should feel a little more, I don’t know,” she hesitated, looking for the right word. Over the course of our conversation, she said the word was “regretful,” and she thought about it in church, and during morning and night prayers, but she just wasn’t feeling it. “It’s just the time, and that’s it. Upward and onward. I’m thrilled with the transition. I think it was beautiful.”…
Pelosi said she found it “particularly concerning” when McCarthy “went up to Gaetz on the floor. That seemed to be unnecessary.” She said, why not “work it out in the bathroom” or some other private space. “To me, it was indicative of the disrespect they had for the Congress of the United States, that they would not have had their act together. It was a cause of wonder that they had to take 15 votes. How does that bode for what comes next?”
Pelosi did not accept an invitation to sit with her protégé, the new minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries, for the speaker votes. She did not want to be the Godfather whispering in the ear of Michael Corleone. She chose to sit near the back with her old friends in the California delegation, Eshoo, Doris Matsui and Mike Thompson…
[I don’t see Kevin McCarthy making ‘jokes’ about threatening Jeffries with his mighty gavel — Squeaker McCarthy would worry that his body might never be found. Kev is not a smart man; doubt that, even today, he understands just how thoroughly Speaker Pelosi pantsed him, time & again.]
Eshoo said Pelosi does not need to cling because her tenure was “jaw-dropping with a real sense of awe about the place and who came before us.” Her reputation, Eshoo said, “will stand the way the Washington Monument stands. They can’t chisel away at that.”…
I asked Pelosi how the savage attack on her husband of nearly 60 years, Paul, had affected her decision to step down. The beating with a hammer by a QAnon believer left him looking like Frankenstein under his dashing hat, Alexandra said, and with an incapacitated hand that the doctors thought he might lose. His daughter said he has handled it gracefully because he’s “a really cool cat.”
“I was probably going to go anyway,” Nancy Pelosi said. But, she added, “say we won by 20 votes and it was a big thing, I might have stayed. It’s true that I had two thoughts in mind when I went to the floor, to stay or not to stay. It was time to move on.”
She said that in 2016: “If Hillary had won, I could have left. But I was not going to let Donald Trump have his way with the government.” She was also irritated that she was constantly asked if she was too old for the job when Mitch McConnell, who’s about the same age, wasn’t…
As we left the Four Seasons, Pelosi showed me a turquoise ring she was wearing given to her by Afghan female artisans and said she “would like to see Congress be a stronger voice for women in the world.” She also said she would like to help the women in Congress in any way she could.
Won’t she still be a celebrity, even without her old title and big staff and wide balcony?
“I was a woman of great power, and now I’ll be a woman of great influence,” she said. “Whatever that happens to be.”