Ready for touchy-feely politics, some bipartisan cooperation? How about at least an appearance of that?
Several members of Congress will sit with members of the opposing party during President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight. It’s part of an effort to show that the two parties can get along and that’s worth saluting.
How likely it is to occur in this hyper-partisan age we’ll have to see.
One avowed bipartisan politician, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., will sit with Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama. Johnson is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee while Shelby is the ranking GOP member.
This will be Johnson’s 24th State of the Union. It would be his 25th if not for his illness. He entered Congress in 1987 but missed the 2007 speech after his brain hemorrhage.
While Johnson wasn’t at the speech, he was saluted by President Bush and his fellow members of Congress gave him a round of applause.
Another member of Congress who will be absent tonight will be recognized by the president. Rep. Gabby Giffords is at a Houston rehab facility but a chair will be reserved for her and she is sure toÂ receive oneÂ of the rounds of applause.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.Â will sit with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
Both are attractive people and some are calling them the Prom King and Queen of the speech.
Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., plans to sit with Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla.. However, Noem’s spokeman, Joshua Shields, said the scene is so frantic, she might not get to do so.
Speaking of good looks and politics, Noem was named the hottest new member of Congress by a Huffington Post reader poll.
In 2010, Noem defeated Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who was also often the subject of “news” stories and blogs about her appearance.
Handsome is as handsome does, it’s said, and while we hope bipartisan cooperation becomes a reality, we’re afraid politics will rear its ugly head sooner than later.
South Dakota’s congressional delegation met at Johnson’s office Monday. They discussed issues that will impact the state and how the two Republicans and one Democrat can work together.
Action will speak louder than seating, we’re sure.