Scene on the Hill: A Sense of Awe or Dread

It's fair to say that history is being made in the Capitol, which is why, even though it is Sunday night—when this place normally is empty—the halls are alive with people, cameras, floodlights, and a sense of awe or dread.

The Democrats are nervous but also almost blasé—maybe a show of confidence designed to erase their own private doubts. I happened to be standing in the corridor outside the Democratic cloakroom when Rep. Bill Delahunt—white-haired, soon to retire, and as genial and canny a member as there is—emerged happily munching on a Reese's peanut-butter Klondike bar. He had a broad smile on his face.

"This is healthy!" he declared. "This is my idea of health care!"

He's a yes vote.

In the same corridor I bumped into an excited Alexandra Pelosi, the filmmaker who is also the youngest daughter of the Speaker. She said that she had been out to dinner with her mother—who was trying to go out incognito. They were recognized, and shouted at. One of Alexandra's kids wanted to know why people were saying mean things about their grandma.

Alexandra laughed it off. It's that kind of night for Democrats up here.