Maybe a baby boom is all polarized Washington needs to share some much-needed love across the aisle.
As news here spread that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed a baby boy in London Monday, capital city lawmakers gushed their approval and offered well wishes via cyberspace to the royal couple across the pond. It was an opportunity to reinforce that "special relationship" between the United States and Great Britain and, heck, party affiliation and policy preferences aside, who doesn’t love a baby?
Like many capital city notables, first lady Michelle Obama – who has positioned herself as this nation’s mom-in-chief – sent her good cheer via Twitter: “Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son! Being a parent is the best job of all. -mo”
Twitter reports that the peak in global conversation of the royal baby occurred at 8:37 p.m. London time with 25,300 tweets per minute.
Among the reactions registered here, gender generally appears to have been more determinative of a public figure’s enthusiasm than party. In other words, at least anecdotally, the moms went moony while some of the dads around town just got on with business.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) of New Hampshire tweeted: “Congratulations to the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge & all of Great Britain on the birth of the #RoyalBaby!”
And here’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska, focusing on the size of the baby, who is now third in line to the throne and remains, as of this file, unnamed: “Congratulations to the Duchess of Cambridge for the 8 lb., 6 oz. #RoyalBaby! An exciting day for England and observers everywhere.”
Three out of four members of the congressional party leadership remained Twitter silent while the rest of the world buzzed about baby. A mother of five and grandmother, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of California weighed in, but her counterpart, Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio, and their foils in the Senate, majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada and minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky, were busy with other matters.
Leader Pelosi: “Wishing Prince William and Duchess Kate much joy and happiness as Great Britain welcomes the newest member of the Royal Family. #RoyalBaby”
Senator McConnell’s tweets yesterday were mostly focused on his speech to a national Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Louisville, Ky., and related issues. Speaker Boehner got some digs in at the president’s attempt to turn the national political conversation back to the economy, and knocked rising gas prices and the Affordable Care Act. Senator Reid was Twitter absent yesterday.
President Obama issued a formal statement, but no word yet about what type of gift the first family might send to Will and Kate. (Remember that ill-conceived iPod for the queen? Here’s hoping the Obamas do better this go-round; they know babies, after all.)
"We wish them all the happiness and blessings parenthood brings,” Mr. Obama said. “The child enters the world at a time of promise and opportunity for our two nations. Given the special relationship between us, the American people are pleased to join with the people of the United Kingdom as they celebrate the birth of the young prince."
And if the family in the White House counts as our royal brood – at least temporarily – then the almost-royal Romney clan had its own good news to celebrate Monday. As Slate reports, an estimated 367,000 other babies came into the world on July 22, and the Romneys can claim one as theirs.