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Nancy Pelosi's Shrinking Star

Illustration for article titled Nancy Pelosis Shrinking Star

Politico, dedicated student of who's up and who's down in Washington, says Pelosi has faded. Well then!

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Says the paper:

During the past election season, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could have starred in a remake of the Hollywood cult classic "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman." In an endless string of campaign ads, Republicans caricatured her - even put her image on billboards - as a political monster.

But now, the former House speaker more closely resembles "The Incredible Shrinking Woman."

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Of course, Pelosi being demonized by Republicans does not equal actual power. The suggestion in the piece is that she's being made invisible now not because that demonization has ended, but in part because of the demonization itself. The White House is said to want none of that scary San Francisco liberal stuff — it has its own problems.

The evidence of Pelosi's eclipse: She wasn't involved in the last-minute budget wrangling, giving a speech at Tufts instead. Her exclusion is seen by House Democrats as a sign that no one cares about them, which no one, not least political officials, likes, as well as ingratitude by the White House after Pelosi cracked the whip on its agenda in the last Congress.

She may even vote against the budget deal to register disapproval of the White House leaving them out of the dealmaking.

On the other hand, the article suggests that she's less visible because she's delegating more to junior members and tapping her fundraising power for the next election. Apparently, in Washington, sharing the spotlight and applying your resources where they'll be most effective is also a sign of weakness.

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Pelosi Fades As Power Player [Politico]
Pelosi May Vote Against Budget Deal [The Hill]

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DISCUSSION

I was at her Tufts appearance — she was there as a favor to Alan Solomont, the current US ambassador to Spain and a Tufts alum after whom this lecture series is named. (She also spent the morning at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kennedy Senate Institute, so she was multitasking.) She spoke on the importance of women in public service, and she also parsed out the budget battle in plain, nonpartisan language. (Her efforts to remain nonpartisan were actually kind of hilarious. Lots of pauses and deep inhalations.) She was supposed to speak and answer questions until 4:00, but she did cut the proceedings short so she could return to Washington.

She is very aware of the fact that she serves as a role model and mentor to many young Democratic legislators, particularly women, so I'm inclined to believe that yes, she's letting those junior members take on more responsibility.