Have you heard the latest game playing out in some Democratic circles? Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) is suggesting that our representatives break with over 200 years of tradition of sitting within their own political party to listen to the State Of The Union address by the President and instead, mix up the seating without regard of political party.
Responding to Sen. Udall’s idea, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said . . .
“I appreciate Senator Udall’s thoughtful suggestion and believe it is worth serious consideration. We need to look for more ways to be bipartisan. This morning I spoke with Democratic Whip Hoyer and Senator McConnell about the proposal and we will discuss it further next week. After this tragedy, it’s important for our country to see that we all stand together as Americans and this could be one way to demonstrate that.”
Well, I don’t see a need to be bi-partisan. That’s why there are elections. If the minority party sees the light, or has a change of heart, then they can show their support by supporting legislation proposed by the majority party. And if they don’t, they can count on their boss, the American people, to re-hire or fire them at the ballot box. That’s the way it works.
Faking ‘bi-partisanship’ creates legislative mud instead of solving problems. The location of where they will sit has nothing whatsoever to do with bipartisanship and everything to do with theatrics.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD5) has another take on it.
“a gesture like this won’t make partisanship disappear, nor should it — democracy is built on strong disagreements between the parties.” But he added that it would “help end the political theater of repeatedly seeing one side of the aisle rise in applause, as the other sits still.”
An observation is in order. It is Democrats that are proposing this idea. Where is the pressing need to veer from tradition, and for such a nonsensical reason? And why now?
The media, as represented by New York Times writer Michael D. Shear, has another angle on this seating change.
In the wake of the shootings in Tucson and calls for greater civility in political discourse, the symbolic move could minimize the imagery of one side of the chamber’s standing en masse to applaud, while the other side sits on their hands.
Another observation. It is apparent that the purpose of this charade is to mask from the American people the results of the November election. The American people deserve to see the changes they made at the ballot box and not mix it up into some sort of political soup. Remember what the President said at his first meeting with Republican leaders after his election? He said ‘elections have consequences.’ Actually, a lot of people have said that, but coming from President Obama himself gives him all the motivation he needs to start showing what he calls bi-partisanship, by actually doing the will of the American people. Because since the election, President Obama has denied that his party’s shellacking had anything to do with his policies.
In his letter, Udall added . . .
“The choreographed standing and clapping of one side of the room — while the other side sits — is unbecoming of a serious institution,” he wrote. “And the message that it sends is that even on a night when the president is addressing the entire nation, we in Congress cannot sit as one, but must be divided as two.”
What this statement and his idea says to me is that he and his party have no intention of doing the will of the people. The SOTU is the President’s platform to set the stage for the coming year. The power to do the will of the American people is in his hands, regardless of where our representatives sit. And the American people deserve to see it in black and white. Or if you will, left and right. And that is what these Democrats don’t want the American people to see.