Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, went out not with a whimper but with a whine. She was graceless up until the very end of her remarks when it came time to pass the Speaker's gavel to John Boehner, her successor.
She began by congratulating herself for her record as Speaker.
In her remarks before handing over the gavel Pelosi celebrated the accomplishment of the 111th Congress. Pelosi noted the passage of health care and Wall Street reform. Through much of her remarks the Republican members withheld their applause.
Why would Republicans applaud as Pelosi devolved into run of the mill Democratic talking points? She was suppose to be introducing Boehner and handing off the gavel, after all. It truly was not suppose to be all about Nancy Pelosi.
She even reminded her audience that she, too, is from a large family. Maybe she is jealous of the attention paid to the large family that Boehner is so passionate about. And, she went on to claim the title of being the first Italian American Speaker of the House. I'm not kidding.
Pelosi finally focused on the task at hand. She acknowledged Mrs. Boehner and their two daughters in attendance.
She felt the need to comment on the size of the gavel Boehner chose to use. She said it was larger than the normal one used. Maybe she forgot the size of the clownishly large one she used when she was first sworn into the office in 2007.
While Congress may soon focusing on problems like the impending debt ceiling, repealing health care and changing filibuster rules, the biggest question today is: Is the new Speaker’s gavel really that big?
The short answer is “yes,” but he’ll probably only pull that one out every two years. According to CNN, John Boehner had a specially made gavel specially made for the occasion, although Boehner’s office won’t confirm any other details.
That isn’t to suggest Pelosi’s was any smaller. Since 1999, every new congress has used the same, large gavel, according to NPR:
“The clerk of the House used a gavel to open the proceedings of Congress and decided to save that gavel and use it again to open every Congress. So the clerk took that one gavel, put a piece of Scotch tape around it so he would remember to use that gavel next time, and kept it,” she says
She did focus in the very end and gracefully hand the gavel over to Boehner and said God Bless You to him.
She went on far longer than Boehner did, which was odd and perhaps another bit of historical accomplishment. She touted the very legislation rammed through under her guidance in the House that was so completely unpopular with the American voter that she lost her position over it. The woman is still in very deep denial.
Pelosi is not a relaxed speaker. She is stiff and not comfortable with her sentences as she utters them. This makes it a bit painful to listen to her. She is not a humble presence. It was noted that Boehner declined to vote for himself during the roll call vote for Speaker. Pelosi, however, voted for herself.
For Nancy Pelosi, today was all about her. For John Boehner, today ushered in a new time of humility in elected officials.
A change in leadership will do the House good.