Last year members of Congress, at the urging of some centrist pressure groups and coming in the wake of Rep. Gabby Giffords' shooting, decided it would be cute to sit next to their colleagues in the opposite party to promote civility. So: How did they civility thing work out last year? Let's not answer that just yet, because the important news here is that they're going to try it again at this year's State of the Union.

The Hill reports that Sens. Mary Landrieu and Richard "Dick" Shelby are among the first couples to announce their "date," after much solicitation for suggestions on Twitter. While they may not be members of the same party, they'll have plenty to bond over — namely their shared penchant for holding up Senate business in order to secure goodies for back home.

The pressure group No Labels — a gathering of many centrist Democrats who hope to realize some sort of political gain by distancing themselves from the party's hippie faction — took out a full-page ad in today's New York Times urging other members of Congress to pair off in similar fashion:

The bipartisan group No Labels is aiding the effort with a full-page ad in Friday's New York Times. "Duh!" the ad reads. "Make Congress sit together. Not on opposite sides of the aisle, but actually together. Then they might work, together."

"Duh!" Duh? Now's as good a time as any to answer that question from before, about how last year's "date night" enhanced Congress' ability to "work, together."

  • Congress barely averted shutdown last April in a bid to fund the government for six more months, finally reaching a deal at midnight on the last night before deadline.
  • Congress nearly destroyed the dollar, the global financial system, the global economy and human civilization by allowing the federal government to default on its debts last summer. A deal was reached in the last day or so.
  • The debt ceiling deal's bipartisan spawn, the Super Committee, failed.
  • Congress barely averted shutdown over a disagreement about how to replenish FEMA's disaster emergency fund.
  • The payroll tax cut was extended for a whole two months in December, in what was somehow Democrats' greatest fucking victory ever following a protracted battle.

So yes, "Duh!": The only reasonable conclusion is that had Congress not done bipartisan seating during last year's State of the Union, all of these shutdowns and defaults would have happened. Right? Something like that.

[Image via AP]