Since Nancy Pelosi helped her fatherBaltimore mayor and machine politician extraordinaire Thomas Big Tommy DAlesandromaintain a book of people who owed him favors, shes learned to wield power through the accounting of grudges and good turns. Washington received a preview of this in November, when Pelosi blocked an adversary, Jane Harman, from leading the House intelligence committee and unsuccessfully pushed to have her ally, John Murtha, elected majority leader over her longtime rival, Steny Hoyer. After the vote, Pelosi magnanimously proclaimed, Let the healing begin. Heres a useful compendium of the other Democrats who have reason to hope she meant it:
Who: Ornery Michigander, 80 years old,a.k.a.Big John, or The Truck. Has a political memory as long as his congressional career, which began during the Eisenhower administration. President Bush once called him the biggest pain in the ass on Capitol Hill.
Misdeed: Supporting Steny Hoyer instead of Pelosi for minority whip in 2001. (Pelosi won.)
Punishment: In 2002, Pelosi donated $12,000 to Dingells primary challenger, former Representative Lynn Rivers, who had been thrown in with Dingell by redistricters. [Rivers] was for me. [Dingell] was not, Pelosi told the San Francisco Chronicle, referring to the vote.
Healing status: The pair shared the first dance at a post-election retreat in 2002 and has publicly been on good terms since. Nancy and I are old pros, he told the Monthly. But a former senior Hill staffer observed: Dingells too smart to pick a public fight. But to say that he has a long memory for grudges is an understatement. This December, after backing Hoyer over Murtha, Dingell sought to restore the jurisdiction of the committee he chairs, Energy and Commerce, to its pre-GOP form. Pelosi was unenthused about the plan.
Henry Cuellar (Texas)
Who: Conservative West Texan, personal friend of President Bush. Has managed to irritate nearly the entire Democratic caucus during his two years in office.
Misdeed: Won his seat by deposing Ciro Rodrigueza staunch liberal and Pelosi loyalistin a primary. Often works with Republicans on key bills, including the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which Pelosi was determined to have the caucus unanimously oppose. When CAFTA passed by two votes, she was furious.
Punishment: Keep an eye on Cuellars committee assignments to gauge how Pelosi intends to run the House.
Healing Status: Pelosis spokeswoman insists that Cuellar is part of the team, while Cuellars confident his prolific fundraising will put him in the Speakers good graces. This isnt any time to have any kind of hit list, which I seriously doubt she has, he said. I dont apologize for my friendship I had with [Bush] when he was governor I know when I can agree with him and when I can disagree with him. I dont need anybody to second-guess me.
Collin Peterson (Minnesota)
Who: Founding member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition. Voted for GOP measures such as the tax cuts, the Medicare drug bill, and the bankruptcy bill. His country rock band, the Amendments, was invited to play at the 1996 Republican convention. Didnt pay his party dues for about 10 years. Dated Katherine Harris.
Misdeed: All of the above.
Punishment: When Peterson became eligible for the top Democratic spot on the agriculture committee in 2004, Pelosi only approved the promotion on the condition he become a better team player.
Healing status: Promising. Peterson caught up on his dues, and this past summer Pelosi accepted an invitation to his districts annual Farmfest, which she attended in cowboy boots.
Greg Meeks and Edolphus Towns (N.Y.)
Who: New Yorkers from majority-minority districts.
Misdeed: Shirking meetings, skipping a big vote. Meeks voted for Republican measures on bankruptcy and tort reform. Both voted for CAFTA, but, unlike Cuellar, had no excuse: Their ultra-Democratic districts are dominated by trade unions.
Punishment: After CAFTA, Pelosi threatened to strip Towns of his Energy and Commerce committee seat. When he was challenged in the 06 primary, she didnt intervene. (Towns barely survived.) Shes not too crazy about Meeks, either. However, Pelosis power to penalize the wayward pair is restricted by her strained relationship with the Congressional Black Caucus.
Healing status: Meeks says he is shocked and astonished to hear hes not in the Speakers best graces. Towns chief of staff Karen Johnsonthe only staffer to actually admit her boss has a Pelosi problemmaintains theres hope: [Pelosi] cant be any angrier at Mr. Towns than she was at Steny Hoyer. If the healing is to begin, it should begin with Mr. Meeks and Mr. Towns.
Ellen Tauscher (California)
Who: Millionaire, former Wall Street stockbroker, model New Democrat.
Misdeed: Being the only Californian to back Hoyer for minority whip.
Punishment: In 2002, Tauscher claimed Pelosi pushed California redistricters to make her seat more liberal, opening her up to a possible primary challenge. Pelosi ally Joe Burton called Tauscher full of shit, while Pelosi dismissed the charges as amateur hour.
Healing status: Tauscher and Pelosis press secretaries downplay the tension. But Tauscher supported Hoyer, not Murtha, for majority leader. And since splitting with the Californians, shes found new friends: She chairs the New Democrat Coalition, which will swell from 47 members to 62 this year.
Joe Crowley (New York)
Who: Steny Hoyers right-hand man.
Misdeed: Being Steny Hoyers right-hand man.
Punishment: Pelosi has already kneecapped Crowley once before when Murtha, her stalwart supporter, engineered Crowleys upset defeat in the election for vice chair of the Democratic caucus in January of 2006.
Healing Status: An ambitious fellow and particularly energetic fundraiser, Crowley had publicly signalled his interest in taking over from Rahm Emanuel at the top post at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His ascension to that position would have been a major concession from Pelosi to Hoyer, but Pelosi tapped Chris Van Hollen for the job.