Monday Morning Open Thread: Nancy Smashing

(via Washington Post)

Over the weekend, the NYTimes fashion section decided to do one of their “power luncheon” interviews with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (star of VEEP, returning for its third season) and Nancy Pelosi (House minority leader). It’s instructive to see how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go:

[NYT interviewer] Philip Galanes: Why do you think shows about Washington politics are so popular right now? “Veep,” “Scandal,” “House of Cards” …

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Well, politics has become more contentious than ever. Maybe people need to see that played out, comedically or dramatically, as a sort of a cultural catharsis. That sounds lofty. But there are such extreme points of view these days, and dialogue doesn’t seem to be happening.

Nancy Pelosi: Not since President Obama was elected. We [Democrats] actually worked well with President Bush. We disagreed with him on a number of issues — the Iraq War, privatizing Social Security — but we still got things done. Now the level of obstruction is stunning. But let me say something else about these shows: Women have emerged so much. The prospect of a woman president, a woman speaker, more women in Congress — still not enough, don’t get me wrong…
NP: I can remember, in the beginning, going to these huge congressional dinners, and there would be two tiny tables of women. Then as we started getting more numbers, the men were like, “What’s going on here?” And when I ran for leadership, it was worse. The men said, “Who said she could run?”

JLD: Did anybody actually say that?

NP: Yeah, “Who said she can run?” They said to me: “Why don’t you just tell us the things you want changed, and we’ll do them.” I thought: I don’t think so!

PG: Here’s something you have in common: People think they’ve got you pegged, but you exceed the peg every time. Nancy was supposed to be this ultraliberal dilettante, but you whip the votes better than anyone, and —

NP: Yeah, they said I was a dilettante, but most people didn’t know what that meant, so it didn’t matter. They said, “Does that mean you’re a debutante?” I said, “No, it doesn’t.”…

NP: You have to remember, generationally, I come to this as a confident mother of five, chairman of the [California Democratic] Party. But when I came to Congress to be sworn in, my colleagues said: “Don’t talk. Just say ‘yes’ when they say, ‘Do you solemnly swear?’ ” So after I was sworn in, the speaker said, “Does the fine lady, our newest member, wish to address the House?” Everybody said, “Don’t.” But I went to the podium, and I acknowledged my father, who had been a member of Congress, my family and constituents, and I said, “I told my constituents when I came here, I was coming to fight against H.I.V. and AIDS.” Period, end of speech. So I sit down and look over to all these people, thinking: That was short, right? They’re going: “Ugh!”

PG: That was bold in 1987.

NP: Given what was going on in our district [in San Francisco], I knew I had a big mission with H.I.V./AIDS. But what was even bigger than the scientific challenges was the attitude, the discrimination.

JLD: But when you got the response you got, was there a moment when you thought: Uh-oh?

NP: Not at all. It was the easiest thing in the world. I thought: “Good thing I’m here. We have important work to do.” So, in a way, talking about AIDS trumped being a woman…

Let’s take a moment to think about that: Twenty years from “Who said she could run?” to “Congratulations, Madame Speaker”. Nancy, in every sense of the word, smashing!

And so… What’s on the agenda for the start of another week?

48 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    RIP Mickey Rooney. I always remember him for Requiem for a
    Heavyweight .

  2. 2
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Dodging rain drops? Was supposed to start last night but nothing yet. NWS still says 90% today.

    And yeah, Mickey was great, one of the best. I haven’t seen RfaH in forever. Thank dog for Netflix.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Sad sad movie.

  4. 4
    Poopyman says:

    I’m tolerating a cat yowling at the door to be let out, because right after I let him out after breakfast he came in with an unscathed baby rabbit. Once we had them separated I at least managed to get the baby outside and possibly his mother will find him, but I doubt she’ll take him back. He now stinks of both cat and me. Not really much of a baby anymore at almost 5 inches, either.

    And the shithead knows where the nest is now, too.

  5. 5
    Betty Cracker says:

    Re VEEP: Someone was talking about it in one of the weekend threads, so I checked out the first couple of episodes. Very funny!

    @Poopyman: Awww. Poor widdle bunny.

  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Yeah, that is the way I remember it. As sad as Days of Wine and Roses? That one always makes me want to slit my wrists.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I tried to watch Requiem a few years back. My recollections are so tied up with watching it with may dad I just couldn’t hack it.

  8. 8
    raven says:

    And Mornin Joe thinks torture stopped “another 9/11”.

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Memories…

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    I say we grab Joey and waterboard him 300 times in a month or until he confesses the details of the next 9-11. We tape it so that Cheney can get his jollys while watching the video

  11. 11
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: sounds good

  12. 12
    geg6 says:

    I love Nancy SMASH! Truly and deeply.

    Big week on my campus. The new University president is coming to visit. This has never happened since I’ve worked there. Graham Spanier could not be bothered with such things. Looking forward to meeting him tomorrow. Not Spanier, that fucking criminal. The new guy.

  13. 13
    geg6 says:


    I love this idea!

  14. 14
    raven says:

    @geg6: Oh my, I didn’t know that was where you are!

  15. 15
    bemused says:

    I didn’t catch the start of Joe but heard him call the report “cherry-picked”. Mika didn’t have much to say. What the hell.

  16. 16
    raven says:

    @bemused: Did you hear her talk about how they wouldn’t use “breaking news” when it wasn’t “breaking”. If they did they would lose the “trust” of their audience! I forgot it was a comedy show.

  17. 17
    dan says:

    RIP John Pinette.

  18. 18
    Baud says:


    True. The report focuses on the torture and completely ignores all the times the prisoners weren’t tortured.

  19. 19
    bemused says:


    No! I shouldn’t be surprised but I never can quite guess what type of miss-the-boat view Joe, Mika or the panel are going to take on any number of issues. I’d like to see Rep Angus King on the show and some of those retired interrogators who may still be alive that successfully got info by playing chess with detainees, never torture and spoke out publicly during Bush adm.

  20. 20
    danielx says:


    No, record it so Cheney can see what he has to look forward to, since to him it’s no more than getting your face forcefully washed.

  21. 21
    J.Ty says:

    @bemused: didn’t one of them ‘break’ a suspect by giving him a copy of Harry Potter one time? The actual pros, not the sadistic psychopaths, who knew what they were doing really should speak up, you’re right.

  22. 22
    bemused says:


    Ha. A strategy that I know well from raising 3 kids. Toddlers can be very inventive at diversion.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:


    In truth, we don’t know what the report focuses on (other than the CIA) until it is released. One thing which has been made public so far is that is names black sites and additional countries which aided or abetted the whole rotten enterprise in addition to the ones already publicly revealed.

    (Aware you were being jocular, just adding to the gist of the comments.)

  24. 24
    bemused says:


    I didn’t hear that but Harry Potter readers would be a much younger generation. The interrogators I remember reading about wrote a piece together in a major paper, iirc, and they were in their 80’s then.

  25. 25
    NotMax says:


    There were any number of Israeli interrogators and intelligence personnel younger than that who made no secret about how misguided, boneheaded and counter-productive the CIA operations were and were quite vocal about that at the time.

  26. 26
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:


    GOP Seeks Coverage Choices in Health Law They Hate

    I like the Fox headline better: House GOP breaks from repeal effort, gets change in ObamaCare

    It’s the sort of thing a lot of us were expecting, honestly. You look at what gets offered under the original rules and then tweak the rules as needed to improve the offerings next time. I know it was pretty common here before the exchanges opened among the real small businesses (<20 employees) to offer a high deductible plan and then self-insure the deductible.

  27. 27
    Betty Cracker says:

    The WaPo published an opinion piece by Jose Rodriguez Jr. over the weekend. He is the criminal rat bastard who ran the torture program and destroyed the tapes. His arrogance is breathtaking as he attempts to pre-spin the Congressional report release.

  28. 28
    geg6 says:


    Not the main campus, though. A small campus, among the 24 in the University, just outside Pittsburgh. They couldn’t pay me enough to work at the main campus. An insulated bunch there. I prefer real life.

  29. 29
    J.Ty says:

    @bemused: Ah, yeah, this was more recent. Harry Potter was surprisingly popular with the detainees last decade, and some of the non psychopathic interrogators used high-tech modern techniques like “giving them books” to soften them up and get actual intel. There was a book out a few years ago about that ‘rapport-building’ method iirc.

  30. 30
    bemused says:


    Thinking about it some more, I believe it was a couple of dozen of WWII interrogators at a reunion who spoke against torture, one saying they were able to get more info from playing chess or pingpong than anything from the Bush adm torture policy. Some of them were quite vehement. I’m still searching for the article.

  31. 31
    geg6 says:


    Can’t remember where, but I do remember reading the same thing about the Harry Potter stuff.

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    @Betty Cracker: I shocked that a torturer would try to justify his methods.

    It would surprise me if twenty seven percent of fox news viewers, thought torture was wrong. When you have to torture someone hundreds of times, one can assume that ticking time bomb thing has gone off.

  33. 33
    raven says:

    @geg6: Aha, I was pretty sure you were in Pittsburgh!

  34. 34
    bemused says:

    Hayden remarked that high emotion against torture doesn’t lead to an objective report. Pro torture advocates aren’t highly emotional? (excluding stone hearted folks like Cheney) Most rightwingers have been all worked up for torture all along. Emotions like pants-peeing fear, revenge and an intense desire to inflict pain on people don’t lead to objective decision making but media doesn’t go there.

  35. 35
    Marc says:

    Yeah, they said I was a dilettante, but most people didn’t know what that meant, so it didn’t matter.

    For God’s sake, America, get your shit together and make this woman Speaker again.

  36. 36
    Gorgon Zola says:

    “We disagreed with him on a number of issues — the Iraq War…”

    How many Pinocchios ?

  37. 37

    @J.Ty: that’s fascinating about HP! I am reading Steven Pinker’s Better Angels of our Nature, about the decline of violence over the centuries. He cites a strong correlation between the decline of violence in Europe and the rise of the early, epistolary novels. Those novels caught on like wildfire, and apparently when you read a novel (esp. epistolary) you are learning empathy.

    HP also has vivid torture scenes, and JK herself worked for Amnesty International for a while, so knew whereof she wrote. I’m wondering how that fits into the mix.

    If you have any documentation for the HP (or other novel) effect on the prisoners, I would love to read it.

    as to the Nancy Pelosi interview – thanks AL, super-inspiring way to start the week!

  38. 38
    Botsplainer says:

    TBogg just whacked Sullivan in the face with a shovel.

    When Raw Story is back up, you can see the tale in full glory. He laments the shaming of Eich, and whimpers great tears of woe over his fate.

    I swear, Sully longs to grovel before a Tory bear-daddy. He’d have loved Ernst Rohm.

  39. 39
    geg6 says:


    He’d have loved Ernst Rohm.

    OMG, I just spit water all over my monitor. Where can I email your internets?

  40. 40
    WaterGirl says:

    I just received email from my congressman, Rodney Davis (Disgusting-IL-13), which contained an invitation to participate with him on a conference call with Paul Ryan, to discuss and take questions related to Paul Ryan’s budget, which my congressman supports. I would like to share the invitation with all of you.

    The House will begin consideration of the Republican fiscal year 2015 budget, the Path to Prosperity, next week. I understand there are a lot of questions and sometimes misconceptions surrounding the budget so on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, I have will the author of this legislation, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the Budget Committee, join me for a Congressional Conference Call to listen to your concerns, answer any questions and talk about why this plan is so important for the future of our country.

    If you would like to join the call, please call my office at (202) 225-2573 or send my staff an email at by Tuesday, April 8 with your name and phone number and we’ll be sure to add you to Wednesday’s call.

  41. 41
    J.Ty says:

    @Hillary Rettig: @Hillary Rettig: Interview I heard with the author of “How to Break A Terrorist”. Have not read the book, but the pseudonymous author is a big proponent of humane interrogation practices.

  42. 42
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @WaterGirl: Um. Is the person who wrote this a native English speaker?

  43. 43
    ruemara says:

    @WaterGirl: please do participate. And please do, ask many wondrous and damming questions. I took great pleasure in submitting finely pointed questions for every league of women voters debate I ran. Watching bigots squirm is delicious.

    Today, I go in and sorta interview for the marketing side of what could be my new job. Slightly nerve-wracked but I’m prepared. Then it’s ironing out the details and I should know that I have a start date. Nervous.

  44. 44
    WaterGirl says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I have no idea, but I do believe he got a super-sized bag of commas and couldn’t wait to use a whole bunch of them in his email.

  45. 45
    WaterGirl says:

    @ruemara: I just don’t have the stomach for this conference call, but I loathe Davis & Paul Ryan and I’m really hoping that some of our fine BJ folks who like trolling would really get a kick out of doing it live.

    I would probably be nervous about the interview, too. When I used to hire people to work in our IT unit at the university, I always looked for the person who I would want to come to work with every day. Sometimes that was the person who knew the most, sometimes it wasn’t. Hoping this job will be a good match for you!

  46. 46
    TooManyJens says:

    @WaterGirl: I got that invitation too. I’m very tempted, though budgetary issues aren’t my specialty so I’m not sure what I’d ask.

  47. 47
    WaterGirl says:

    @TooManyJens: Maybe ask for question ideas from BJ?

  48. 48
    LT says:

    Sure, Pelosi opposed the war. But she also endorsed and campaigned on behalf of Joe Lieberman in 2006 (who was defeated in the democratic primary). WTF was that all about? The “leadership” had cut loose members to vote their conscience (or lack thereof), which they proceeded to do. House minority leader Tom Daschle and 2004 presidential nominee Kerry each took counsel of their presidential ambition, betraying the nation & humanity in doing so. Indeed, it was the day Daschle announced his support for the war (in the Rose Garden, for Christ’s sake) that my last, lingering hope that the great tragedy could be avoided was extinguished.

    (See also “off the table”).

Comments are closed.