The weird times are probably when we should expect the biggest meltdowns. We’d at least be getting our money’s worth.
And perhaps we did so this week, as the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1 – what might properly be called the “Shred the Constitution Act” – on party lines, and the Senate Democrats appear to have figured out how to roust up all 50 of their votes for a $1.9 trillion spending spree they’re blaming on COVD-19, although only 9% of the $1.9 trillion is going for COVID-related items. (For reference, the entire U.S. GDP didn’t get within spitting distance of $1.9 trillion until 1975, the last year it was less than that. Meanwhile, without the $1.9 trillion spending package, the U.S. federal deficit for 2021 is projected to be $2.3 trillion.)
Migrants are pouring over the U.S. southern border at a pace not seen in years, Iran’s proxies are attacking the U.S. in Iraq with increasing boldness, Capitol Hill is locked down tighter than a Supermax penitentiary while the nation’s intelligence agencies miss tip after tip on phantom “domestic violent extremists,” and the president, almost as elusive, can’t be scheduled for a State of the Union Address to Congress, or even for a press conference.
So now may be the best of times for two of America’s top elected show-women to demonstrate their aptitude for performative politics.
That’s just what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did during a virtual Democratic conference on Wednesday.
The video clip that has gone viral on social media might be said to be taken out of context, as it doesn’t make clear why Pelosi utters the deathless line: “We do not say open sesame, we say ‘Open Biden.’ That’s our magic word. Open Biden? I love it.”
This isn’t healthy. pic.twitter.com/lEsdQysavA
— Andy Grewal (@AndyGrewal) March 5, 2021
If we knew why she was saying “Open Biden,” it might not seem so strange that she giggled like a six-year-old and burbled “I love it!”
Fortunately, there’s help. She really did put in this performance. It’s not a deep fake. The transcript is posted at the Speaker of the House website. Pelosi was introducing President Biden as an invited speaker at the Democrats’ virtual conference, and in doing so she recounted what appears to be an anecdote about grandchildren.
It’s the grandchildren who gave her the “Open Biden” incantation, when she took them to buy candy at a store in New York after they had met the legendary Mr. Biden.
You’ll be relieved to know it was 2013 when this happened, so there’s no need to fret over Pelosi’s report that the place was “packed and jammed.” There were swinging doors between spaces inside the store, hence the children’s felt need to have a magic word handy.
According to Pelosi: “So, here they are, the place is packed and jammed. Kids are making all this noise over there on the side. And all of a sudden, I hear them pronounce, ‘In order to open these doors, we do not say open sesame, we say “Open Biden.” That’s our magic word.’”
With a hearty giggle, Pelosi concludes the anecdote: “Open Biden? I love it.”
And it seems she really does love it. A few sentences later she turns over the video conference to Biden, saying, “And now it is my privilege to present the [46th] President of the United States, as my children – grandchildren would say, ‘Open Biden,’ Mr. President.”
So that’s the why. If you thought the Speaker was just being utterly bizarre, you can now feel a bit reassured.
There’s always the theory, of course, that Pelosi was communicating via dog whistle with the T-shirted phalanx of migrants recently assembled for a photo op at the border. “Open Biden” could be just the magic word they’re in need of.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), meanwhile, lodged her vote against a $15 minimum wage with rare artistry on Friday.
When someone asks if I want to watch the theatrical versions of Lord of the Rings pic.twitter.com/5fIRQhrfHv
— Kyle Mann, boop/bop/beep (@The_Kyle_Mann) March 5, 2021
The flippy skirt and glib curtsey-swipe accompanying the thumbs-down gesture are one thing, but apparently the utility bag on her shoulder was genius. It has spawned its own set of viral fever-threads on Twitter.
I am insane and zoomed in on another picture of her carrying and in the spirit of Edward R. Murrow-level journalism I'm humbled to announce in a parody of white feminism Krysten Sinema [sic] voted against a $15 living wage while carrying a giant Lululemon bag. pic.twitter.com/BCHVCbpvR2
— Bess Kalb (@bessbell) March 5, 2021
What appears to be established is that the bag, from Lululemon, originally retailed for $118 when it came out (in 2013, as a matter of fact, like Pelosi’s magic-word anecdote). Various mathematical computations are offered to put the minimum wage in perspective vis-à-vis the bag, and vice versa.
LU Staff research revealed that the bag can now be obtained pre-owned from eBay for as little as $20 (shipping extra). It may take some sleuthing to find the single-tone Plum bag carried by Sinema. But $20 is probably about right, considering that the bag is made of polyurethane, and is basically a large, nearly shapeless receptacle.
It is impressive that Sinema doesn’t seem to have it overstuffed. That takes some skill and restraint.
Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Swalwell, and thespians like Sen. Cory Booker, have some miles to go to before they achieve this exquisite standard of ineffability. For Pelosi and Sinema, it seems effortless. If America is going to go another $1.9 trillion into debt – or another $12 trillion, with senior Democrats piling on the “reparations” bandwagon – as the Constitution takes a beatdown like none it has ever faced before, we might as well go with a giggle, a curtsey, and a little polyurethane prole-couture pizzaz.