It was supposed to be one of the best seats in the House. But getting herself an aisle spot at least year’s State of the Union may have cost Jean Schmidt her job.
Schmidt, a former Republican House member from Ohio, was taking part in a State of the Union tradition made for the age of television: staking out a perfect seat so the world can see you shaking the president’s hand. Or, in the case of Schmidt, giving him a kiss on the cheek.
Unfortunately for her, kissing Obama did not play well in her Republican primary last year, and was even used against her in ads (see on the left) to make her appear cozy with the Democratic president.
It’s one of the great ironies of lawmakers who fight for the aisle seat. They wait up to 12 hours (some try to put a book or a coat down, but the Secret Service says this is technically against the rules) to get one of these choice seats, for some sort of personal glory, but the cost can be more than just the time spent protecting their spot.
“I’m always working on behalf of my constituents,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, when asked why she stakes out an aisle seat each year. “I am working on their behalf, and they are seeing me work on their behalf. Many of them are moved by the moment.”
While it’s true that having the seat does give Jackson Lee visibility, it’s a bit harder to argue that at this moment her constituents are seeing her work on their behalf.Continue reading on www.nationaljournal.com