The New Congress: Notes from the Floor

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 5 2011 12:39 PM

The New Congress: Notes from the Floor

Republicans gained 63 seats in the House last year. It will shock no one that their side of the House floor is a sea of humanity, with men in good suits backslapping and introducing their children to one another, while the Democratic side is a lot more laid back. Some human behavior that I saw from the gallery:

- Former Vice President Dan Quayle standing with his son, Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), and introducing him to power players like Steny Hoyer.

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- Rep. Allen West and Rep. Blake Farenthold, two of the Tea Party's biggest stars, sitting side by side and meeting everyone who walked by. Later, West moved around the floor, talking to other members, and settling near the front, while Farenthold stood pat.

- John Boehner arriving on the floor and being buttonholed immediately for a photograph with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). When she was done, Rep. George Miller (D-Ca.) got a picture with Boehner and what looked like a Flat Stanley doll. Only then did the GOP side notice that Boehner was in the room, and cheer for him.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.