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— m i t h (@ManInTheHoody) January 4, 2019
This is big and underrated. There has never — never! — been a House Democratic majority without a powerful bloc of southern conservatives. And now there is. https://t.co/FQT0GgQ3Oc
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 3, 2019
Times have changed at the Capitol: Some of the holy books for new member’s swearing ins, including a Quran, Buddhist Sutra and Hindu Vera (and two Constitutions for the atheists) pic.twitter.com/KES1JKnqP9
— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) January 3, 2019
Total women in the U.S. House:
— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) January 3, 2019
The scenes from the House floor today felt like a glimpse of the country that most of us thought we were before 2016, and the one that we still might be.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) January 3, 2019
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) January 3, 2019
… Besides Tlaib, Illan Omar, a Somali immigrant from Minnesota, also was sworn in, resplendent in a white-and-gold hijab. A few rows in front of Omar in the House chamber was Deb Haaland of New Mexico, dressed in turquoise jewelry and traditional Pueblo Native costume. Along with Sharice Davids of Kansas, Haaland is one of the first two Native American women to be elected to the Congress. After the morning’s business was concluded, the two women enfolded each other, weeping, in a long embrace, Haaland using David’s scarf to wipe away her tears.
All of these new members of the House, it needn’t be said, were members of the Democratic Party. So was virtually every person of color in the chamber. On the other side of the hall was a largely monochromatic new Republican minority that channelled its foul mood through the person of Congresswoman Liz Cheney, child of the Undead, who spit up a bitter, Trumpian nominating speech on behalf of Republican leader Kevin McCarthy’s candidacy for the speakership. She even went to “build that wall,” which got her a hoot and a holler from her fellow Republicans, but which was drowned out by the sound of happy children and grandchildren from the other side of the aisle. It was as though someone had grafted a Chuck E. Cheese onto a funeral parlor.
Nancy Pelosi, because she is smarter than everyone in the House, and much smarter than anyone in the White House, god knows, was re-elected easily to be the new Speaker, although the balloting was not devoid of hilarity. Pelosi and McCarthy were the only two announced candidates, but votes also were cast for Reps. Jim Jordan, Cheri Bustos, and Marcia Fudge, as well as for Senator Tammy Duckworth, defeated Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Conor Lamb, the rookie from Pennsylvania, voted for Rep. Joe Kennedy, who got a good laugh out of it, and Ron Kind, Democrat of Wisconsin, voted for Rep. John Lewis, who looked rather frosty about it. Two Democratic House members voted “Present.” And Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey haplessly voted, “No,” which was not on the menu. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, both of whom made noises months ago about challenging Pelosi, both voted for her. And, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted for Pelosi, there was some kind of organized whoo-hoo from the Republican side. She simply makes them completely crazy.
The most touching moment of the balloting came when Lucy McBath of Georgia dedicated her vote for Pelosi to her late son, Jordan, murdered for the offense of playing his music too loudly for the white guy in the next car. McBath threw herself into the fight for sensible gun laws, and that culminated in her election in November. This was quite a moment, as was the embrace between Davids and Haaland. It took 240 years for people like the two of them to represent their fellow citizens in a government that did so much bloody damage to their people…
It is a different place now, this House of Representatives. There is something of the future in it, and god alone knows where it will lead, but the work, the real work, begins now.