What would Simon think? Hard to say.

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) is dreaming big. But he’s already a member of Congress, you say, in the majority party. What more could a guy want?

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) is dreaming big. But he’s already a member of Congress, you say, in the majority party. What more could a guy want?

Make that “American Idol”-big.

When Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) barely caught an elevator down to the Rayburn subway after Tuesday’s votes, it tempted Crowley to break out in song, or at least sing the first few bars of a seemingly improvised song about desertion.

“Don’t leave me …” Crowley began to croon before stopping himself. “No, I better not start that,” he decided.

“That’s right, you’re in a band,” Harman recalled.

Encouraged by the glimmer of recognition, Crowley suggested: “I should go on ‘American Idol.’”

“Carrie Underwood doesn’t have anything on me,” he added, before thinking about it a moment longer. “Except that she’s better looking and a better singer.”

A Crowley spokesman noted that his boss is, indeed, a singer, and a guitar player to boot. For the moment, he’s a man without a band, although he did play with a group from the New York Assembly called the Budget Blues.  Crowley’s performances, his spokesman said, are usually solo ones, like when he regaled a visiting group of Irish immigration activists with Irish tunes or when he occasionally breaks into song around the office.

Or, apparently, elevator serenades for colleagues.


 In floor tribute, Reid hearts Kerry

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) can be an emotional guy. And on Wednesday, he was wearing his heart on his sleeve. In a sentiment straight out of a high-school yearbook inscription, he had this to say about Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who had just announced he would not seek the Democratic presidential nomination after losing in 2004 to President Bush:

“So I say to John Kerry: I love you, John Kerry,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “And I’m so sorry that things didn’t work out for our country, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I will always care about you greatly and remember the times we’ve spent together.”

Bet he thinks Kerry is 2 cool 2B forgotten … BFF!


 Chafee goes from Sen. to Prof.

This month’s Brown Alumni Magazine has a cover boy well-known in D.C. circles. Under the headline, “Why is this man smiling?” is a content-looking former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.). In the profile, Chafee comes off as a pretty happy loser.

Chafee has found a landing pad that seems to suit him, after losing in November to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, as a visiting fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies. There, he’ll be leading a group of undergraduate students on a topic near and dear to his heart: avoiding violent international conflict.

Chafee, who was never quite comfortable — or particularly welcomed — as part of the GOP establishment, was a critic of the war in Iraq.  But he just might be calling on some of his Washington friends — part of his mission, he tells the Brown student paper, is bringing in real-world policy experts to talk to students.


 Scenes from the State

As President Bush was making his way toward the House floor for Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, lawmakers were joking and jostling like high-school kids awaiting an assembly.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) chatted with the Senate GOP leadership’s top three members (getting advice on her next donnybrook with Speaker Pelosi, perhaps?), while Democratic campaign-committee gurus Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) guffawed with Emanuel’s successor, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.).

Two former members of the House GOP sisterhood, Melissa Hart (Pa.) and Katherine Harris (Fla.), returned to their old stomping grounds to cheer on Bush. And the new chairwoman of the Senate’s environment committee, Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), got an approving nudge on the shoulder from fellow Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) at Bush’s unexpected acknowledgement of the “serious problem of global climate change.”

Of course, Boxer might be the one taking Bush to school on global warming by next year’s State of the Union …


 Pelosi’s walls stay red while Boehner bumps the blue

Those famous, deep-red walls of the halls leading into the House Speaker’s offices will remain — even though the offices’ new inhabitant is politically more of a blue fan. 

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) had the blue walls of his new office (the one formerly occupied by California Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) painted yellow when he moved in. But Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill assures us that the red in Pelosi’s new digs isn’t going anywhere. “The walls are historic, so they won’t be changed — not that we asked,” he said. “I don’t think she’s put any significance on what color the walls are.”