Rep. McCotter Stays Behind to Lead GOP Energy Speak-In
While other Republicans enjoy their party's convention in St. Paul, a small but motley crew of House Republicans stayed in Washington to continue staging their "energy speak-in" on the House floor, pounding away on the one issue they feel could save them from a Democratic tidal wave in November.
Even though the cameras have been turned off during the recess protest, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), who is running the show this week, says members are on their best behavior. They're wearing suits and ties, sticking to the formal parliamentary jargon, and biting their tongues. "No profanity, nothing off color," says McCotter, who himself is prone to off-color jokes and antics.
Of the nine Republicans who participated in yesterday's mock session, Rep. Steven LaTourette of Ohio bonded most with the handful of tourists watching the bizarre floor proceedings from the visitors' gallery. "They love LaTourette, I cannot figure it out for the life of me," McCotter joked in a telephone interview.
Apparently, LaTourette got big laughs for his chart listing some of the more notable "accomplishments" of the Democratic-led House over the past year and a half, correlating the date of each measure's passage with the cost of gasoline on that particular day.
For example, according to the chart, a resolution congratulating the UC-Santa Barbara soccer team was approved on January 29, 2007, when gas cost $2.22 a gallon. In February of this year, House members approved a resolution commending the Houston Dynamo soccer team - when a gallon of unleaded gas cost $3.03. The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act passed the House on May 20, when gas had risen to $3.84 a gallon. And finally, on June 17, when Americans were paying an average of $4.14 a gallon to fill up their tanks, the House approved the Monkey Safety Act.
LaTourette even explaind to his newfound fans that he "loves furry little monkeys" but that he thought lowering the price of gas was more important at this point.
The congressman's improvisational stand-up act got a boost yesterday from an unexpected energy development. As McCotter told us, "Today is the first day the lights have been on, we can't figure out why."(Every other day of their fake session of Congress, the House sergeant at arms has left the lights dimmed.)
McCotter says running the House floor show is more fun than being at his party's convention in St. Paul, especially with yesterday's session. "The best part is, you had [Rep.] Vern Ehlers, who is a nuclear physicist, explaining energy. Then you had LaTourette explaining the Monkey Safety Act," says McCotter, "It was kind of like Jimi Hendrix opening up for the Monkeys."
And "fun" is relative, compared to his colleagues at the convention who are enjoying the late-night party circuit. "No, I'm eating soup out of a can in my basement apartment missing my wife and kids," McCotter insists.
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