Nancy Pelosi, America’s true dealmaker in chief, returns

Over the Christmas holidays, as Washington entered the second week of its government shutdown, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker-designate of the US House of Representatives, was spotted holidaying with her family at a luxury resort in Hawaii.

在圣诞节假期期间,正当美国政府关门进入第二周,当选为美国众议院议长的民主党人南希•佩洛西(Nancy Pelosi)被发现与家人在夏威夷的一个豪华度假村度假。

Conservative news outlets had a field day. Donald Trump’s White House pounced. The trip had all the political deftness of George H W Bush luxuriating on a speedboat in Kennebunkport, Maine, during the 1991 economic downturn. While another politician might have grovelled or made excuses, Ms Pelosi was unrepentant. Returning to Washington, she brushed away the criticism.

保守派新闻媒体当即大做文章。唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)的白宫进行了抨击。佩洛西在应对这件事上施展出的巧妙政治手腕与当年的乔治•W•布什(George W Bush)如出一辙,1991年经济衰退期间小布什曾在缅因州肯纳邦克港的一艘快艇上度假。如果是另一位政客可能会认错或者找借口,但佩洛西并无悔意。回到华盛顿后,她驳斥了批评。

“The president may not know this, but Hawaii is part of the United States of America — maybe he doesn’t realise that,” she explained in a televised interview. The president, she added, had been confused about Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate, leading to questions about his grasp of US geography. “The very idea that he would suggest such a thing shows the poverty of his thinking.”

她在电视采访中解释道:“总统可能不知道这一点,但夏威夷是美利坚合众国的一部分——也许他没有意识到这一点。”她补充说,总统对巴拉克•奥巴马(Barack Obama)的夏威夷出生证明感到困惑,这让人怀疑他是否熟悉美国地理。“他这么想表明了他的思想的贫乏。”

It was a signature jab from the most powerful woman in Washington. As her youngest daughter, Alexandra, remarked recently: “She’ll cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding.” The shutdown continues, with no end in sight — an outcome that could be as damaging for Ms Pelosi as for Mr Trump. In the meantime, however, Ms Pelosi appears to have won one key constituency back: her party.


If, ahead of the November midterms, Ms Pelosi was beginning to be seen by some liberals as toxic — an out-of-touch, rich, white woman who had clung to power for too long and was too old to represent the party’s young and diverse freshman class, then since the elections she appears to have earned back some of their support.


Democratic congressional candidates who had attempted to distance themselves from her before the midterms have gone into reverse. One-by-one, Ms Pelosi, a don’t-mess-with-me negotiator and vote counter, picked off her potential detractors. She neutralised her one real challenger for the speaker position, Marcia Fudge, by offering her a subcommittee chairmanship, prompting Ms Fudge to announce she was stepping aside.

在中期选举之前试图与她保持距离的民主党国会候选人转变了立场。佩洛西是一个强势的谈判者和计票员,她一个接一个地解决了潜在的诋毁者。她通过提供一个委员会主席的职务,搞定了对她议长位置的真正挑战者马西娅•富奇(Marcia Fudge),促使后者宣布退出竞选。

In the days that followed, she won over more than a dozen other Democrats with an agreement to support four-year term limits for the party’s leaders, eventually winning the speakership battle with votes to spare.


But she has garnered attention particularly for her dealings with Mr Trump. During a December 11 meeting in the Oval Office, the president appeared taken off-guard by Ms Pelosi as she branded the coming government impasse the “Trump shutdown” and slapped down one of his jibes.


After the meeting, Ms Pelosi emerged from the building dressed in a rust-red coat, sunglasses and a victorious smile, inspiring an internet meme of her walking away from a blazing White House with the slogan: “Instructions for how to come for me: 1) Don’t.” Max Mara, the designer who had made the wool coat several seasons before, announced it would be restarting production due to popular demand.

会议结束后,佩洛西从大楼里走出来,穿着一件铁锈红的外套,戴着太阳镜,并露出了胜利的微笑。此后网上流传一张她从剑拔弩张的白宫走出来的照片,上面配了一句话:“关于如何找我碴的说明:1)千万别。”几个季度前设计了这款羊毛外套的马克斯•玛拉(Max Mara)宣称,由于太受欢迎,将重新开始生产这款衣服。

A couple of weeks later, Ms Pelosi mocked the president for backtracking on what his proposed border wall would look like. “He’s already backed off of the cement — now he’s down to, I think, a beaded curtain or something,” she joked.


One quality that makes the 78-year-old so entertaining is how much she seems to be enjoying herself — and how little she appears to care about what others think. While the rest of Democratic party finds itself consumed over whether a female politician can be “likeable” (both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Elizabeth Warren in 2019 have been accused of lacking this attribute, which seems never to be applied to male candidates), Ms Pelosi has sidestepped the question. Perhaps this is a virtue of her experience or her safe California district — but it is remarkable nonetheless.

让这位78岁的人如此有趣的一个品质就是她似乎我行我素——她似乎并不关心别人怎么想。虽然其他民主党成员发现该党被女性政客能否“可爱”的问题困扰(2016年的希拉里•克林顿(Hillary Clinton)和2019年的伊丽莎白•沃伦(Elizabeth Warren)都被指责缺乏这一属性,这似乎永远不适用于男性候选人),但佩洛西回避了这个问题。也许这是由于她经验丰富,或者她居住在安全的加州地区——但这一点仍很不了起。

As the rest of the country was wondering whether she was the Democrats’ best choice for House speaker, one person in America was not: Nancy Pelosi.