Finally, at high noon, the moment of truth arrives. You can watch across the dial on cable news or online at C-SPAN or, er, Facebook. The office name plates are changing and the Twitter handles are being updated; all that’s left is for Boehner to take the gavel and deliver his opening remarks. A sneak preview:
We gather here today at a time of great challenges. Nearly one in ten of our neighbors are looking for work. Health care costs are still rising for families and small businesses. Our spending has caught up with us, and our debt will soon eclipse the size of our entire economy. Hard work and tough decisions will be required of the 112th Congress. No longer can we fall short. No longer can we kick the can down the road. The people voted to end business as usual, and today we begin carrying out their instructions…
The American people have humbled us. They have refreshed our memories as to just how temporary the privilege to serve is. They have reminded us that everything here is on loan from them. That includes this gavel, which I accept cheerfully and gratefully, knowing I am but its caretaker. After all, this is the people’s House. This is their Congress. It’s about them, not us. What they want is a government that is honest, accountable and responsive to their needs. A government that respects individual liberty, honors our heritage, and bows before the public it serves.
Pelosi and Reid are out with the ceremonial “can’t we all just get along?” op-eds in case you’re looking for something to read while we wait. I recommend the latter for the long bridge-building passage about the “trend toward extremism in the GOP,” with its “extremist views” and “extremist elements.” If you’re not in the mood for that, today’s Times editorial might do in a pinch. Here’s a sentence pulled at random: “Certainly the Republican leadership is not trying to suggest that African-Americans still be counted as three-fifths of a person.” In what possible context could a line like that make sense? Follow the link and read on, my friends.