Nancy the Fifth Faces Her Agincourt
WASHINGTON -- The House is a mess, a visitor might say, with a government shutdown looming at midnight Friday and two Democratic bills worth trillions in infrastructure up in the air. It's a monumental moment in time.
Senate Republicans are also seriously threatening the first Treasury default on the nation's "full faith and credit." Something to send shock waves all over the world.
Once more unto the breach, as King Henry V declares in the eponymous Shakespeare history play before his thrilling victory over the French king's men.
Only the breach is bigger in our realm. Those glued to the Capitol drama say they've never seen so many stakes this high, all at once, for a president and his party.
President Joe Biden put all his chips into advancing "Build Back Better" infrastructure. Even so, the president is taking direction and strategy from the true leader of the hour.
It's no secret that's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. This is her battle of Agincourt, her donnybrook to unite a "band of brothers" -- and sisters -- in a victory history will remember.
The California Democrat is facing the greatest challenge of her political life since she was born the Baltimore mayor's daughter. She learned old-school skills and graces, and to count votes in her sleep.
The House buzzes with cacophony, but it is not a mess. The 220 Democratic lawmakers, by some alchemy, are bound to become a disciplined force at the end of the day -- or week. They feel it.
Moderates and progressives crossed swords over the size and scope of the two bills. But after a rousing private parley in the House basement, judging from their smiles, strides and hallway comments, both sides trust Pelosi to somehow move both bills -- dear to different hearts.
"She is a magical legislator," said liberal lawmaker Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis, Tennessee.