Although it seemed to get fairly minimal coverage in the media, earlier today (January 8th) there was a joint session of Congress in which they formally elected Barack Obama as President and Joe Biden as Vice President. This is a standard routine every four years though of course there was a certain level of history to the election of the first African American President.
But what struck me was the reaction of the Congress as a whole. While obviously the Republicans were less excited than the Democrats they were properly respectful and offered best wishes to the winners in the best of spirits. When the official announcements were made, there was applause from all sides.
Vice President Cheney in reporting the results was also respectful and dignified.
The Democrats on the other hand seemed to be a bit less classy about things. When Obama’s votes were announced there was applause from all sides, when it came for McCain the GOP started the applause and some of the Democrats seemed to join in because they had to.
Even worse was the conduct of members like Maxine Waters who was her usual self, being totally disrespectful to any Republican and to Dick Cheney in particular.
I was also struck with contrasts from four years ago (I am not going to discuss 2001 when there was lots of venom). In 2005 even though Bush had clearly won, Waters and company still tried to hold up the vote and refused to offer any good wishes to the winners.