Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Defining 100 Hours

How important is the Democratic '100 hour' pledge? The New York Times profiles the timekeeper today. Best line:

In the event of a dispute? “We decide what constitutes the 100 hours,” said Stacey Bernards, a Hoyer spokeswoman. Chiefly, Mr. Cogorno decides. It is a monumental charge.

You'd think that the definition of a 100 hours might be something that could escape dispute. You'd be wrong.

The rest of the piece pokes some fun:

The Clock, which is also on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Web site, was set to start running at noon. (You could imagine parents waking their newborns to catch the epic moment on C-Span.) Alas, noon arrived with a failure to launch or tick. Mr. Hoyer’s office issued a news release at 12:02 p.m. titled “Update on House Democrats’ 100 Hours Clock.” The Clock, it said, “will begin ticking” at approximately 1:30 p.m.

At 1 p.m. many members were contemplating lunch and wondering whether The Clock had started.

“I think it has, yes,” said Representative Ellen O. Tauscher, Democrat of California.

“Jeez, I don’t know,” said Representative Don Young, Republican of Alaska. “I don’t have one of those hourglasses.”

Mr. Young said he expected that Republicans would be given stopwatches “with those little Mickey Mouse thingies on them” to keep track. Either way, he says, he doesn’t give a squeak.

“Hmm, let’s find out,” said Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, when asked at 2:20 p.m. if the 100 hours had started. He picked up a phone at a security station, called the Democratic cloakroom and asked for someone named Bob.

Yes, Mr. Kucinich reported, the heady hours commenced at exactly 12:57 p.m. when the House began debate on carrying out the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission.

Or did they?

“The Clock started at 1 p.m.,” Mr. Cogorno corrected, with the certitude of someone who has the final say.

Maybe they could use a primer.

Update: Don Surber is counting as well, and his view of the first 144 hours is probably not as rosy as that of Mr. Cogorno.

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