A few minutes ago, I ran into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was walking the empty marble halls of the Capitol with just her security detail in tow. We exchanged pleasantries, and I followed her for a minute or two; she was on her way to her office, and I was making my way to the Boehner press conference.
As we turned the corner, we both came upon the pack of reporters camped beside the Will Rogers statue adjacent to Statuary Hall, the two-story room south of the Rotunda. Pelosi, in a grape-purple suit, glided between reporters, mostly unnoticed. Most odd was that no one jumped up to ask her questions, or chase her to her door.
Pelosi quickly moved past the kleig lights and behind them, and brushed shoulders with rookie reporters and photographers. She then passed the statues of great Americans cast in marble, and waved to a few surprised tourists, before reaching her soon-to-be-vacated suite. To her credit, she was low key.
Ten months ago, in March, Pelosi roamed this same hall as Queen of the House — The Speaker Who Passed Health Care — and any glimpse of her would make the Hill press corps leap for their pen and pads. No more. Instead, reporters are battling each other to hear the man who pledges repeal.
The brief episode struck me: Pelosi may still be speaker, but the pulse of power no longer lingers. Reporters give her a smile back, but that’s about it. Politics, as ever, moves forward.