I read Richard Cohen’s op-ed on the three reasons he has a “soft spot” for Nancy Pelosi and her quest to become Speaker of the House in January when the Democratic Party takes control of the House. The first two reasons were ideological. She is a woman who can never get the respect from the GOP that the good ol' boys like Tip O’Neill and Sam Rayburn did. Second is that she represents San Francisco, which, “like New York ... has long been caricatured as the capital of un-American ideas and lifestyle.” These are his opinions, and I have no issue.
Then the third reason. Pelosi grew up in Baltimore in a political family. Her father was mayor for 12 years (1947-1959) and her brother was also mayor (1967-1971). Cohen describes Baltimore and his time there as a political reporter for The Washington Post “partly in the South, partly in the North, totally Democratic Party and a feast for a political reporter.” “It had clubs and alliances and curious folkways, such as the distribution of 'walking around money' on Election Day." He goes on to describe Baltimore politics as “shady and colorfully corrupt, but they taught virtues and the unassailable importance of loyalty.” Really? So does the mob. They seem to be a very loyal bunch.
So I guess Big Tommy and Little Tommy, as Pelosi’s father and brother were known, were part of the politically corrupt environment that Nancy Pelosi grew up in. Were they also part of the political machine that has turned Baltimore into the current condition it finds itself? And Richard Cohen believes cutting your political teeth on shady and colorfully corrupt politics is one of three reasons to be Speaker of the House. What an endorsement. I hope Cohen never speaks up for me.