Sort of facetiously, I asked yesterday on Twitter:
It didn’t occur to me until today to ask the questions seriously, which I did after I read this at The Fix:
When the Democratic centrist group Third Way proposed the idea of members of different parties sitting next to one another at tomorrow’s State of the Union speech, there was considerable skepticism that it would happen.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for one, said that people are “more interested in actual accomplishments on a bipartisan basis here in the next six to nine months than they are with the seating arrangement at the State of the Union.”
And yet a number of members have signed up — including Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), whose “You lie!” outburst during a speech by President Obama last fall is frequently cited as a sign of partisan incivility in Congress.
So without reading further in that piece (which would have given me my answer), I e-mailed Neal Patel of Joe’s staff to ask who his bipartisan buddies would be, and immediately got this response:
Susan Davis from California and Madeleine Bordallo from Guam. Both are HASC members.
Then I saw that Joe had Tweeted earlier that he was “Honored to be sitting” with those two ladies. Presumably, they are, too. And they’ve already worked together on some stuff, according to The Fix: “Davis and Wilson teamed up last year on a military pay raise bill. In 2007, Bordallo and Wilson traveled to Afghanistan together.”
This will be interesting. But whatever happens — and I’m thinking it all goes well, with no new outbursts (partly because the first one was uncharacteristic of Joe, but also because, well, we Southern boys tend to act better in the presence of ladies) — I appreciate that Joe was up for this. As I heard someone saying on the radio over the weekend, this sitting-together thing won’t likely change the world, but it couldn’t hurt.