House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turns 80 on Thursday. In the runup to that milestone, Pelosi launched impeachment proceedings against President Trump, who was duly acquitted. By way of follow-up, she decided to block the Senate’s coronavirus response package earlier this week, and on Monday offered a 1,200-page version of her own chock full of goodies meant to keep the Ocasio-Cortez-Tlaib-Omar squad in line.
And behind the scenes, Pelosi is pulling the strings on the Golden State.
“I want to thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” said California governor Gavin Newsom in his March 12 press conference telling 40 million Californians to stay home. “We had a very long conversation today. Talk about meeting the moment. We are so blessed to have her leadership in California. She’s very familiar to northern Californians, certainly familiar to me as a former mayor of San Francisco.”
Listeners might not have known the other ways in which Nancy Pelosi is familiar to the governor, whose grandfather, William Newsom, helped Pat Brown win the 1943 race for San Francisco district attorney.
In 1960, with the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, Governor Pat Brown awarded the concession to William Newsom and John Pelosi. In 1963, John’s son Paul married Nancy D’Alesandro, daughter of congressman and Baltimore mayor Thomas D’Alesandro. In 1969, Paul and Nancy Pelosi moved to San Francisco, where Paul’s brother Ron was a county supervisor. Ron married William Newsom’s daughter Barbara, so Nancy Pelosi was Gavin Newsom’s aunt by marriage until the couple divorced.
Nancy Pelosi has been in Congress since 1987 and quickly established her credentials as a woman of the Left. In 2001, long after Stalinist union boss Harry Bridges was exposed as a Soviet agent, Pelosi praised Bridges in the Congressional Record as “arguably the most significant labor leader of the twentieth century.” Pelosi was also a fan of Vincent Hallinan, Bridges’ lawyer and the 1952 candidate for president of the Progressive Party, a Communist front.
The Communist Party USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Soviet Union, ran candidates in U.S. elections from the 1920s to 1984. That year CPUSA presidential candidate Gus Hall, for whom then-college student and now former CIA Director John Brennan voted in 1976, teamed with Angela Davis, winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1979. As in 1980, the Communists lost to Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. After that, the CPUSA urged voters to support the Democratic Party. Harry Bridges’ acolyte Nancy Pelosi was one of the party’s fiercest partisans, and that trait emerges in Gavin Newsom.
In an interview with Politico last year, Newsom said Republicans were destined for “the waste bin of history,” an echo of what Ronald Reagan, a former California governor, said of the USSR. He also referenced “the experience and temperament of Speaker Pelosi” a woman with “better sense than a lot of folks.” Her one-time nephew has not come across as a leftist ideologue, but the coronavirus may have tipped his hand.
Newsom’s Executive Order N-25-20, issued on March 12, “readies the state to commandeer hotels and medical facilities to isolate and treat COVID-19 patients,” and also “readies the state to commandeer property for temporary residences and medical facilities for quarantining, isolating or treating individuals.”
As Milton Friedman observed, temporary government measures have a tendency to become permanent.
Newsom’s budget provides nearly $100 million for the health care of foreign nationals illegally present in the United States. Newsom has not announced support for stepping up cooperation with federal border enforcement that would prevent carriers of coronavirus and other contagions from entering the United States. It remains unclear whether the state’s sanctuary law would protect those who defy quarantine measures.
If Californians believed Newsom drew these ideas from Nancy Pelosi it would be hard to blame them. After all, as the governor said, “We are so blessed to have her leadership in California.” But what about the nation?
As Tad Friend observed in the New Yorker, “Newsom seeks to embody [Bobby] Kennedy’s grainy glamour, to provide moral clarity in a bewildering hour.” The governor wears Ermenegildo Zegna shirts and his hair is “lacquered with Oribe gel.” So Nancy Pelosi, who turns 80 today, might be grooming her boy for a run at the White House in 2024.