For his first State of the Union, Allen West is going stag. (Photo courtesy of Allen West.)

By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

A few days ago, a friend sent me the following e-mail:

“Oh Boy!  I can’t wait to see who sits next to who at the State of The Union Address. Maybe they will make them hold hands in a show of unity, or make them stand and greet each other with hugs and kisses. It’s just another chance for a photo op by picking the sexiest date. Maybe have them walk the red carpet together so we can critique their looks. That’s what the American People want, a reality show called State of the Union — A Night of Passion and Love.”

Tonight, as you’ve no doubt heard, is Date Night on Capitol Hill — President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech. This year, the focus is as much on who’s sitting with whom as it is on the president’s words.

And Florida’s senators, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio, will be front and center at the dance.

In fact, Florida is in the national spotlight big-time on this.

Not only is the Nelson-Rubio date the talk of the nation, but Dana Milbank of the Washington Post suggested the pairing that we’ve all wanted to see but no one dared say: “Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, could sit with new Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who tried to hire as his chief of staff a woman who called Pelosi ‘garbage.’ ”

Oh, yeah, baby.

Alas, there will be no Pelosi-West dramatic sub-plot on State of the Union: The Reality Show.

West, the man who during his campaign against Democrat Ron Klein famously urged supporters to “make the fellow scared to come out of his house,” will not be sitting next to any Democrat.

“The congressman will sit with his party,” said Ari Zimmerman at West’s Washington office. “He will sit on the red side of the aisle.”


What do you think about Date Night? And what pairing would you most like to see?