SOTU turning into Sadie Hawkins dance

I made my unpopular feelings known about the two parties sitting together for the State of the Union speech next week. I see little harm in it and if it hurries along the GOP agenda, so much the better.

But this is pretty ridiculous. If I had known the process of having Dems and Republicans sit together would degenerate into a virtual Sadie Hawkins dance, I might have a few more reservations about it:

Dozens of lawmakers are getting a second dose of high school as they venture across the aisle and ask colleagues to sit with them for President Obama's State of the Union address next week. In a petition circulated to members earlier this month, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) called on his colleagues to sit with a lawmaker of the opposing party as a way to heal Congress's increasingly divisive rhetoric, which at times can erupt into hateful and even violent debate in the public arena.

The bipartisan gesture carries a serious tone for nearly all who have pledged to do away with the typical seating arrangement, which is not assigned but generally gets divided by party. But the humor of asking one of their fellow lawmakers to attend the event as their "date" has not escaped members."It's a little like prom," joked one Democrat, who asked not to be identified. "You just hope they don't turn you down."

This kind of ad-hoc initiative never works out very well. It's something the leadership of both parties should have organized. That way, you avoid the "prom date" feel to the whole thing, plus avoid the probability that a "couple" will be seated surrounded by partisans on both sides. I don't imagine there will be standing ovations from both parties too often during the speech which will make it somewhat ridiculous when one Democrat or one Republican stands up in the middle of a gaggle of members from the opposite party, looking quite lonely and forlorn.

I don't plan to watch it anyway. Much better to read the speech and not be influenced by applause - or the lack of it - from either side.



I made my unpopular feelings known about the two parties sitting together for the State of the Union speech next week. I see little harm in it and if it hurries along the GOP agenda, so much the better.

But this is pretty ridiculous. If I had known the process of having Dems and Republicans sit together would degenerate into a virtual Sadie Hawkins dance, I might have a few more reservations about it:

Dozens of lawmakers are getting a second dose of high school as they venture across the aisle and ask colleagues to sit with them for President Obama's State of the Union address next week.

In a petition circulated to members earlier this month, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) called on his colleagues to sit with a lawmaker of the opposing party as a way to heal Congress's increasingly divisive rhetoric, which at times can erupt into hateful and even violent debate in the public arena.

The bipartisan gesture carries a serious tone for nearly all who have pledged to do away with the typical seating arrangement, which is not assigned but generally gets divided by party. But the humor of asking one of their fellow lawmakers to attend the event as their "date" has not escaped members.

"It's a little like prom," joked one Democrat, who asked not to be identified. "You just hope they don't turn you down."

This kind of ad-hoc initiative never works out very well. It's something the leadership of both parties should have organized. That way, you avoid the "prom date" feel to the whole thing, plus avoid the probability that a "couple" will be seated surrounded by partisans on both sides. I don't imagine there will be standing ovations from both parties too often during the speech which will make it somewhat ridiculous when one Democrat or one Republican stands up in the middle of a gaggle of members from the opposite party, looking quite lonely and forlorn.

I don't plan to watch it anyway. Much better to read the speech and not be influenced by applause - or the lack of it - from either side.



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