The Royal Canadian Mounties, renowned for always getting their man, have nothing on 9th District congressman Steve Cohen, who persevered at the annual White House Christmas Party Monday night until he located an ornamental ball on a ceremonial Christmas tree that had been prepared by one of Cohen's constituents, Memphis artist Carol De Forest. Cohen, along with Oregon Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, who was similarly determined to locate an ornament contributed to the tree by one of her constituents, made the Washington Post's "The Reliable Source" column this week for what a White House usher seemed to regard as over-staying their welcome.
Cohen was quoted by the Post as saying the usher, who attempted to close down the Christmas tree room while Cohen, Hooley, and several other party guests were still in it, had been rude and behaved "like he was a bouncer, and it was last call." (By way of contrast, said Cohen, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush had been nothing but gracious.)
In any case, earlier reports by the Post that Cohen and Hooley were "ushered out" appear to have been inaccurate. Cohen, having succeeded in his quest to locate DeForest's ornamental ball, was long gone before Hooley found her own constituents ornament and looked around to find that she was the last guest at the party.
Another piece of news on Cohen's front is that he has been named one of 12 regional whips for the House Democratic majority -- a duty which will require him to communicate back and forth between the party leadership and members from Region VII, a territory which includes Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina, to participate in floor discussions, and to, er, help round up stragglers when votes on the floor are called for.
Just to get you started, here's what I see in Swami's crystal ball: Obama 364; McCain 174. -- Bruce VanWyngarden