House Republicans After Hours: The Sequel

So, I returned to DC today to see the continuing protest in the House. Since I knew where and when things were, I was much more prepared; I left for the bus stop just as the sun came up (5:30), got a bus at 6, and stopped for breakfast in Falls Church (which is a really beautiful place… I’m looking forward to the day when eastern Loudoun is as well-developed as northern Fairfax). Then, I took a metro over to Capitol South, got into the Canon building (and still somehow beat Frank Wolf’s staff there, so I just waited around), and then sat around in a Starbucks.

This time it was a good deal more organized than Monday, which was certainly more organized than the previous Friday. The staff knew when it was happening, as did the Captiol police. I’d heard that Newt Gingrich was meeting with the Republicans, and asked if the meeting was open; sadly, it wasn’t. It was worth a try, though.

After sneaking in behind another tour group (those lines are too much) and accidentally making it through screening with gum in my mouth (being a former high school student, I’m too good at instinctively hiding it and forgetting it’s even in my mouth), I got into the gallery and watched the group come in. Only three representatives from Monday made it: Frank Wolf, who sadly gave that overdramatic “CHINA! DARFUR! CUBA!” speech again (passionate, but not nearly as good as the others), Lou Gohmert, and Marsha Blackburn.

Right after Wolf, I moved down onto the House floor and soon got a seat right in the second row.

Read on…By the way, my forgetfulness with names and faces wound up combining Steve King and Lou Gohmert’s speeches on Monday. Steve King talked about dirt and building (nobody ever made dirt that interesting), but Gohmert made the memorable speech about pipelines, caribou, and fish. He’s a great speaker, and quite frankly he deserves to be on the VP list if he isn’t already. He’s not young, but he’s a lot cooler and warm than McCain.For that matter, so is Marsha Blackburn. In fact, I’d have to say my order of best VP picks (best to last) is Sarah Palin/Marsha Blackburn/Lou Gohmert.

Unfortunately, Gingrich wasn’t there. However, not one but TWO other Representatives who looked JUST LIKE HIM were. I already forgot their names. One of them looked more like Derek Jacobi, though.

Representative Aderholt passed out copies of his resolution, H.Con.Res. 401. It seemed separate from the bigger, more inclusive “All Of The Above American Energy Act”. It was mostly a huge “WHEREAS… EVERYTHING THAT MAKES ME RIGHT AND YOU WRONG” ego-stroking resolution with no actual ideas. Now, I don’t know how things are in the House, but with my experience with legislative procedure, it’s usually best to stack this onto the bigger, better bill as an amendment. In this form, it really feels like grandstanding that can only detract from the main bill.

A nice point, though: they cut that image of Pelosi looking like an idiot. Good job. I saw that “VW with a sail on it” picture, which they never used, but it wasn’t as funny as I imagined. I was thinking of a marker sketch of a Beetle with a huge boat sail (with mast and crowsnest) on it. It is a known fact that drawings of Beetles are the best kind.

The high point, probably, was Roy Blunt, who managed to show up. However, a really unexpectedly good speaker was Patrick McHenry. I initially say him (a pretty short, unassuming guy) leading in some people from the halls (which made me think he was the low-ranking guy who got to shuttle people in). He started talking, and I very nearly left, but he started his speech very quietly and slowly built up to a really amazing delivery. He clearly put effort into writing this, and he deserves credit. In fact, he could be a McCain possibility: although he has grey hair, he otherwise looks and acts like the youngest member of Congress. He initially comes off as nervous and fidgety but immediately proves he knows exactly what he’s talking about, and can really impress a crowd. He reminds me a lot of John Hodgman.

I left around 3:30 to get home. At that point the representatives were repeating again.

By the way, in my previous post I referred to a sign on Rep. Issa’s door. It was taken down Monday afternoon, but when I was getting a gallery pass I saw it was back with a vengance (although lacking the big metal mount).This time I managed to get a picture.Office politics taken to its most literal definition.

In conclusion, it was really great and I urge anyone who hasn’t to drop down to the Capitol and check this out. Urge your representative to show up or at least sign the discharge petition, and I imagine if your representative’s staff isn’t in someone else will be willing to give you a gallery pass. (Also, people on the Capitol tours were also being led into the floor if you can time it right.)Unfortunately I can’t make it for the next few days, since I’m occupied with some work I’m doing with a local band (my other hobby is audio engineering). If it’s still going on next week, though, I might head back.