Congress Opens To Awkward Moments, Unwelcome Kisses And Castration

It was the first day of the 114th Congress, and for many members it was a long day, full of awkward moments. Joe Biden was there, seemingly unable to read signals or take a hint. John Boehner was the star of his own awkward scene as Nancy Pelosi presented him with the speaker’s gavel, and fellow Republicans attempted to oust him from the leadership seat. All signs look good for an interesting year in government.

It was just a few days ago when Chris Christie engaged Jerry Jones in an awkward hug in celebration of the Dallas Cowboys comeback victory against the Detroit Lions. The moment easily made headlines. Not to be outdone, members of Congress took the job of creating their own social blunders.

Starting with Nancy Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner. According to Yahoo, as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attempted to hand off the speaker’s gavel to John Boehner, the future speaker leaned in for a kiss, but got an icy reception.

Republicans dominate the 114th Congress, having a majority in both the Senate and the House. Naturally, some awkward tension is bound to exist between the parties, especially given the polarized atmosphere of modern government. Still, even among the Republicans, there are a number of tense relationships.

For example, the Sun Herald reports that Rep. Louie Gohmert made a push to replace Speaker Boehner. Unfortunately, the drive by hard-right conservatives was both too little and too disorganized. There were only 25 Republican votes against Boehner, and those were divided among a number of candidates, only three going to Gohmert. No doubt that will create a few awkward meetings between moderate and hard-right Republicans.

Then there was the king of awkward, Joe Biden.

As vice president, he holds the special honor of swearing in each of the new Congressional members (see video below), which also means meeting the families.

At one point the VP went in for a kiss on the head to the daughter of Senator Chris Coons, but she seemed to be a little freaked out by the moment.

With all that strangeness in the air, its easy to forget this bit from Senator Lindsey Graham.

As described, it’s a device used to castrate livestock. That one might not be considered such an awkward gift, considering that it is for Joni Ernst, who used her experiences with pig castration as a metaphor for her ability to “cut the pork” from Washington politics.

[Image Credit: U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine/Flickr]