The city of the perishable
Some months ago, Nancy Pelosi told me that she calls Washington "the city of the perishable." Let things sit for very long and they have a tendency to spoil. That, she said, is what informs her theory of legislating. "You get the votes," she explained, holding up one fist, "and you take the vote!" And here she smacked her fist into the other palm. "Because you never know what can happen."
That theory is looking pretty good these days. There were plenty of predictable roadblocks for health-care reform: the filibuster, Robert Byrd's age, Ted Kennedy's health, abortion, industry opposition, the ugliness of the legislative process, the length of time since Congress passed anything this large, and much more. But no one ever suggested that "Democrats will run a hapless bumbler in Massachusetts who will continually insult the Red Sox, mock candidates who shake hands, jet off to D.C. fundraisers, and throw the election for Ted Kennedy's seat to a Tea Party Republican." But then, "anything can happen" is not exactly a new principle.
Back while Max Baucus was wasting months and months in the Gang of Six process, I heard Andy Stern say, "Time is not the ally of change." Seems not.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.
January 19, 2010; 10:31 AM ET
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