July 14, 2005

Nancy Pelosi

About two weeks ago I got an e-mail from Doreen saying that we were invited to a book signing for Alexandra Pelosi. Her letter said “You should Google this woman -- she is Nancy Pelosi's daughter. Let me know if you want to come with me.” So I did. It turns out that she is the daughter of Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the House of Representatives.

Alexandra is on a book tour for her new book Sneaking Into the Flying Circus : How the Media Turn Our Presidential Campaigns into Freak Shows. She was on the Democrat’s presidential campaign bus in the last presidential election. Previously, she had done a movie about GWBush’s campaign in 2000. She followed him with a hand help camera. It is supposed to be good.

The event was this evening, and the weather has been horrible in Houston. I was reluctantly dragged out of our nice safe home to a nice house in one of the ritzier neighborhoods in town. I was convinced that we were going to be swamped with rain, but luckily I was wrong.

So we get to the house, and a couple of bodyguards are in the street blocking it almost completely. I was not amused. We finally made it inside, and Doreen started chatting with friends. I had a beer.

Soon, Nancy Pelosi herself interrupted our group and was duly introduced to us. Wow Nancy Pelosi! One of the most powerful Democrats in the US, one of the most powerful people I have ever met face to face! She was saying that her daughter’s plane was delayed, and she wanted to get started.

So she gathered the crowd (about 20 people) and started telling some anecdotes about her daughter writing the book. She admitted that she now has to avoid some of her fellow democrats in the house because of some of the stories (evidently the book pulls no punches)

The talk, naturally enough, gravitates to politics. Tom Delay and Karl Rove are covered. I ask my question, (I always feel compelled to ask questions at these things) which was whether or not she would support non-partisan redistricting boards for the entire House of Representatives. She fumbled some, but said that if all the legal requirements (voting rights act, etc) are upheld, she would support it.

I had a chance as we were leaving to discuss this one on one with her. I asked her how many seats she believed were competitive in the House. She said that only (only!) 75% were safe. She said that the press exaggerates. I will go to The Economist (my favorite) claims only 29 of the 435 house seats are competitive. That is shy under 7%. I told her that if I could make my opinion know about one thing in our system it would be this. We’ll see if it makes any difference.


  1. This November Gov. Arnold is bringing up a referendum that would establish a bipartisan commission of retired judges to determine congressional districts. If this ghappens it will cost Democratic seats in the House, but will make many, many more seats competitive. Right now there is more turnover in North Korea.

    I am all for this. If Arnold can pull this off, it could sweep the nation. Not bad for an immigrant who can't be President.

  2. When it comes to making abstract points about vague philisophical points I'm pretty good. But I don't really know what a bipartisan commision of retired judges to determine congressional districts is or what they're determining. If you've got a minute, please explain.

  3. Link through to the Economist in the original blog. The issue is how are congressional districts are determined.

    Google "gerrymandering" to understand how the party in power uses redistricting to insure their advantages. In theory, a non partisan panel would not allow that to happen. (I think that Kansas does that)

    Pelosi said that the problem with the retired judges is that they are all retired judges from a different era - read that old and white. That may (or may not) really be a problem.