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Posted by on Nov 2, 2009 in Arts & Entertainment, Media, Politics | 2 comments

New York Magazine on Nancy Pelosi: “A Castrating San Francisco Shrew”

Actually, most of this 7-screen profile is not this openly vicious. Vanessa Grigoriadis generally prefers to kill with a thousand paper cuts rather than take a butcher knife to her target of choice. If you’re looking to learn something substantive about Pelosi’s political thinking and/or the professional and personal factors that formed her values and who she is as a person, you will be disappointed. By the time you reach the last sentence, you will know far more about Vanessa Grigoriadis than you will about Nancy Pelosi.

Some snips from a very long article in which practically every sentence drips with snark:

She’s a talking-points machine, who is by the way not above compromising on principle to protect the old boys, like Charlie Rangel, a castrating San Franciscan shrew who banned smoking in some communal areas of the House and makes everyone in congressional cafeterias eat with biodegradable utensils. It does seem like the more we see of her, the less we like her.

The extremely rare suggestions of likability must always be undercut:

“Speakers in the past tended to be untouchable people, but Nancy Pelosi is around,” says José Serrano, a congressman from the Bronx. “She’s not hiding. If you disagree with her, she’s there for you to disagree with.” He guffaws a little. “Of course, she doesn’t come around to talk to you about sports or the weather. She’s trying to get something she wants.”


Suddenly, a door opens, and a beaming servant zooms to Pelosi’s side, stooping to show her the contents of his platter: a delicate bowl, piled high with two luscious scoops of dark-chocolate ice cream.

She lets out something you’ve never heard from her before, at least not on TV: a tremendously long and high-pitched giggle, like one that would come from a girl about a half-century younger. “Hee-hee-hee-hee,” she goes, pushing her chin to the sky. “Oh, no, Michael,” she says, “I don’t want that now. Later, later!”

Pelosi is in a “bubble” because she prefers getting work done to glad-handing:

For the most part, Pelosi is in a bubble, where much of what passes for politics doesn’t penetrate. Her face, the one with the frozen smile, is her mask. She often seems unaware of how it looks. For her, the world consists of her members, her donors, and her family, plus President Obama and Rahm Emanuel, whom she sometimes speaks to several times a day. As far as she’s concerned, anything else, and that includes the press, is a petty distraction from her “historic work,” as she likes to say


The other party is very much outside her bubble, barely noticed. “Nancy really doesn’t care about Republicans, because she doesn’t believe the whole bi-partisan thing exists,” says a close associate. “Her attitude is, ‘God bless their souls, but these people don’t believe in global warming. They just don’t agree with us.’?”

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Go read the whole thing.