“She’s now sporting a bracelet made of bullet shells, a gift from a Ukrainian soldier who she met at the Munich Security Conference in mid-Februar “: Nancy Pelosi, untethered: ‘If you don’t like your pillow, it’s not my fault’ https://t.co/JNaaz9KlKU
— JB Holston (@jholston) March 4, 2023
All good nerds will be reminded of Wonder Woman’s magical protective bracelets, of course. Unpaywalled (gift) link:
… “You don’t have any responsibilities,” the former speaker told herself, attending the annual getaway for House Democrats as a congressional commoner for the first time in more than 20 years. As Biden administration officials gave policy presentations on Wednesday, Pelosi said she whispered a message to those at her table: “If you don’t like your pillow, it’s not my fault. If you don’t like the menu, I don’t care. I don’t even care.”
That’s not entirely true, because the longest-serving House Democratic leader of the past 60 years still cares deeply about her caucus’s future. And Pelosi, 82, is as busy as she’s ever been, but just in a much different way than in the last two decades.
Veterans of her team have labeled this new period “Pelosi 3.0,” after a career that saw a 15-year climb to the highest ranks of leadership, then two decades at the top, and now this next phase where she has begun to serve as something akin to roving ambassador for the Democratic Party.
She’s not in charge of anything, has no real responsibilities in the House other than casting votes (she declined to take any committee assignments), yet she maintains a level of influence that goes well beyond her rank-and-file status. Inside the Capitol, Pelosi has taken up a mentoring role: not to the trio of new leaders of the Democratic caucus but to the junior lawmakers who want to learn, particularly the few dozen freshmen Democrats who never served under her.
And she maintains a role as a fundraising eminence, particularly for an outside group led by former attorney general Eric H. Holder fighting legal battles to draw up House district maps. She’s hosting former president Barack Obama and Holder in San Francisco on Friday for high-dollar donors.
“I get my tasks, and I do them,” she said, predicting a large haul for this event. “We’ll do well.”…
While she led the Munich congressional delegation last year, on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she returned this year as a dignified member participating in multilateral meetings that seemed to always focus on Russia. She praised the Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who led his own delegation there, for the unified voice that lawmakers presented to their allies.
“Everyone who was there was very unified in support for Ukraine,” she said.
Her calls to President Biden now happen on an “as needed” basis, an understandable drop after his first two years in the Oval Office hung so much on Pelosi working her narrow four-seat margin in the House.
“I’m a busy person. He’s a busy person. And I respect being busy, and I know how it is to be completely busy,” she said, reiterating her full support for his reelection…
And she will not tolerate any criticism of her behavior toward Donald Trump when he was president. In Munich, she found the veteran diplomat, Richard Haass, to thank him for sending her his new book, “Bill of Obligations.” Then, she lit into him for the book’s criticism of her ripping up her copy of Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address on live TV. Pelosi felt as if it were a false-equivalence moment compared to Trump’s supporters’ deadly attack on the Capitol.
“There is no equivalence,” she told Haass, mocking the thinking of a MAGA rioter justifying trashing the Capitol: “Oh, she tore up the speech, so we can pee all over the floor, and smear our poo-poo all over the walls.”
She didn’t intend to rip up that speech after making notations of things she felt were false claims. But by the time Trump awarded the medal of freedom to Rush Limbaugh — “That bozo, may he rest in peace” — she began to plot exactly how to tear that tough parchment paper apart, her only hesitation coming from how she might upset her curmudgeonly top press aide at the time, Drew Hammill…
Of the last 11 House speakers, only one lasted more than 10 months after giving up the gavel and returning to the rank-and-file. But Pelosi won’t address when she plans to retire and instead enjoys how much freedom she has to mentor young lawmakers. She pushes new women toward committee assignments that will check national security credentials so that if they run for higher office, they will not look weak.
“We will have a woman president. I study it very carefully,” the most powerful woman in American political history said…
In Baltimore, she had just one role: to formally introduce Jeffries and the new leadership at Thursday night’s dinner. One attendee recalled how she regaled the Democrats about her trip to Charm City’s National Aquarium, where she learned that dolphins sleep with half their brain awake and one eye open.
In a metaphor that could explain her own long success, Pelosi gave the crowd a final bit of advice: “Always sleep with one eye open.”