Lawmakers put on a show of chumminess — sometimes it’s even sincere

Is it sincere chumminess or just a show for the cameras?

When you watch lawmakers around Capitol Hill, they are often hugging, often laughing, sometimes hysterically so. They bend over in guffaws such as our photograph here of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey (D-Wis.). They look like they’re sincerely broken up about something. But when you look at the smiling moment between
President Bush and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) one has to wonder how sincere the moment really is.

“The emperor has no clothes,” she declared in May 2004 of what she alleged to be his failed Iraq policy. In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle in that same month she deemed him unfit for office. “Bush is an incompetent leader,” she said.

In April of this year, Bush denigrated Pelosi’s trip to Damascus to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying her trip sent “mixed signals” to a nation that sponsors terror.

Says a House GOP flack, “To see some of the insincere baby-kissing smiles one can’t help but reflect on the sage advice of the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards, who said that in politics, your enemies can’t hurt you, but your friends will kill you. Just ask
John Murtha. Look how his backslapping buddies abandon him when reminded of his colorful past.”

Smile on.