Opening day of Congress following 06 mid-term election. Democrats retake majority, elect first woman Speaker.
Opening day of Congress following ’08 presidential election.
Democrats expand majority, elect Democratic president, re-elect Speaker.
In comparing these two opening day images, it seems necessary to mention that the first session also doubles as a family day open house. As well, Nancy Pelosi’s ’06 inspiration of creating a Democratic photo op with member’s children might make for a nice tradition (if, certainly, a sweet photograph).
On the other hand, however, given the fact that Nancy and the Democrats were so ineffectual over the past two years, what occurs to me about setting up the same scene — these children representing Nancy’s compassion, on the part of the party, to deliver for the youngest generation — is that it can also convey a sense of “same old, same old.”
In the most obvious difference, of course (beyond the additional row of children– for the larger majority?), Nancy is swearing an oath as opposed to hefting an oversized mallet, so maybe there really is different symbolism there. (Although, doesn’t that just remind how much the Democratic leadership over the past session failed to demonstrate almost any aggressiveness in standing up to the minority and the Bush administration and never did bring the hammer down?)
Anyway, the children (several of them, especially just to the right of Pelosi, back for a second appearance) are two years older now. My hope, in light of their innocence, is that there’s a lot more to show for their future before they visit the Hill again.
(image 1: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times. Washington. January 5, 2007. image 2: Richard Perry/The New York Times. January 8, 2009)