Stupidity blooms as some DC lawmakers suggest ‘bipartisan seating’ at SOTU

I don’t think I can emphasize my eye-rolling enough. Via The Hill:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaksa) has joined Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) in spearheading Udall’s effort to have bipartisan seating at the State of the Union, Murkowski’s office announced Friday.

In a letter to members of Congress today Murkowski and Udall propose Republicans and Democrats sit together during the State of the Union address. Currently, the tradition is for Democrats and Republicans to sit only with members of their party during the presidential address. The proposal comes after an earlier one by Udall where the Democrat and Republican leadership would sit together during the presidential address.

So far, 21 senators and nine members of Congress of both parties have endorsed the proposal.

In the letter, dated Friday, Murkowski and Udall write that sitting together would cultivate bipartisanship.

“On the night of the State of the Union address, House and Senate members from both parties outhgt to cross the aislie and sit together,” the senators write. “As the nation watches, Democrats and Republicans should reflect the interspersed character of America itself. Perhaps by sitting with each other for one night, we will begin to rekindle that common spark that brought us here from 50 different states and widely diverging backgrounds to serve the public good.”

I concur with AllahPundit on the reasons why this is an absolutely craptastic idea:

[…] The Republicans onboard thus far are Murky, McCain, Kelly Ayotte, the Maine sisters, and House GOP whip Kevin McCarthy. If you’re inclined to oppose this, you’ve got plenty of arrows in your rhetorical quiver. For starters, practically the only fun part of the SOTU is watching the two sides of the chamber applaud or not applaud in response to the president’s speech to show where they stand on what he’s saying. If the seating is mix-and-match, you lose that. Second, as Daniel Halper notes, the parties don’t sit apart because they can’t stand each other’s company, they do it because they have heartfelt differences on policy. No sense in obscuring that fact when those differences are bound to reemerge, occasionally in a heated way, sooner rather than later. And third, by making an ostentatious show of civility after the shootings, you’re arguably validating the narrative that a lack of civility was some sort of contributing factor to them. I think that’s less of a concern after The One’s speech, which provided some cover to separate the issue of “tone” from the fact of the murders, but it’s there if you want to see it.

The bottom line is that you’re going to have more Democrats on board with this idea, because they don’t want to be embarassed on national TV anymore than they were after their “shellacking” last November. Having Republicans and Democrats sitting together, as AP notes, would lessen the spectacle of the partisan applause lines during President Obama’s speech; on the other hand, having the parties sit separately, as has been traditionally done, will remind people how big Democrats lost last year – which Udall and other lefties who’ve signed off on this silly idea obviously don’t want. As to the Republicans who have indicated they’re on board with this? Well – look at the names. Most of them won’t be a shock to any of you.

These are the types of grandstanding games I look for Democrats to play over the next couple of months. Doing things “in Gabby’s name.” Hiding behind tragedies and victims for political gain is, unfortunately, one of the things this party does best. And ideas like this, if you’re a Republican who declines to participate, give Democrats the opportunity to question why anyone wouldn’t want to do this “for Gabby” – with the clear insinuation being that if you don’t, you’re coldhearted. We’ve all been down this road before. So far, one GOP House “leader” (McCarthy) has given signs that he’s fallen for it. Considering Boehner’s political savvy, I’d be surprised if he did as well. If he does, it’ll be a big disappointment but hopefully not a sign of things to come.

Here are the signers, BTW:

Twenty-one senators and nine members of the house have signed the letter as of Friday afternoon and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has suggested he is open to the idea. Senate signers are as follows: Sen. Begich (D-Alaska), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Kristen Gilibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Udall for the Democrats and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alska, and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Alaska) for the Republicans. In the House, all nine signers are Democrats. They are Bishop, Carney, Cohen, Matheson, Michaud, Pingree, Richardson, Ross, and Shuler. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who caucuses with the Democrats, has also signed the letter.

As they say, stay tuned.

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