Agricultural, Fourth Estate Award Entry, Humorous, Politics

Ferraro Could Liven up Senate

Click to see original imageBiographical material on Geraldine Ferraro published in connection with her nomination as Democratic candidate for vice president brought out this personality sidelight:

She is witty and loves to laugh.

Mention of that trait reminded me of a feature article on the “lighter side of Congress” which I wrote in February 1980 as a Scripps League Newspapers staffer.

In one of the episodes I compiled from the Congressional Record, Representative Ferraro, D-N.Y., injected a brief interlude of levity into an otherwise serious House session when two poultry hills involving feathers and eggs tickled her funnybone.

With tongue in cheek she orated:

“Mr. Speaker, there are many questions which have challenged the great minds of the human race. But none is as simple and as complex as this: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

“From Adam and Eve to the philosophical pundits of today, the seemingly harmless riddle has stymied the geniuses of the ages. Plato contemplated, Socrates orated, Moliere and Voltaire reasoned without success. And so, we continue to ponder the origin of the fowl …”

The Queens District congresswoman noted the agenda called for House consideration of the Egg Research and Consumer Act, then a measure on tariff treatment of crude feathers and down.

“A do-nothing Congress? Not at all,” concluded Ferraro. “Today the House answers the unanswerable question.”

Rep. Robert H. Michel, R-Ill. picked up the mood of the moment but gave the subject a political twist by saying the two poultry bills reminded him of the House majority leadership.

“The Democratic majority is hard-boiled and has scrambled for 25 years looking for good policies,” Michel quipped. “It too often treats the minority as if we were a bad yolk, which really leaves us fried.”

That brought a “get down to business” rejoinder from Rep. Thomas S. Foley, D-Wash. who “didn’t want to suggest the Republican had laid an egg on the floor of the House” but felt a mockery was being made of legislation important to the country.

So what happened? The lawmakers, having had their laugh, discussed and passed the two poultry bills. They, of course, spent no more time with the chicken or egg diversion which quickly had run its course.

If Ferraro is elected vice president in November, she will be the Senate’s presiding officer under the Constitution.

Her wit might well serve a good purpose and help her over many a rough spot. Combined with her obvious acuity and perception, it also could be useful in urging that the legislative machinery be kept moving… not getting derailed for long periods by issues lacking in merit.