United States: Washington in 2007 ///

Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Thus, memorably, begins Charles Dickens’ classic 1843 story, A Christmas Carol. One hundred and sixty four years later, the passage perfectly captures the mood that was in Washington during Christmas 2006—with newly minted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Dem.–California) playing the part of the all-powerful Scrooge (see the illustration of Dickens on this page). Pelosi and her fellow Democrats are convinced that the Republicans are as dead as a door-nail on Capitol Hill and, controlling both chambers, are poised to wreak a reign of revenge against their Republican rivals, and to settle old scores long a’festering.

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