Greg Sargent reports Chuck Schumer has endorsed Mark Udall's proposal of a bipartisan seating map during the State of the Union, saying it would symbolize the bipartisan approach of the lame duck session and would be a fitting response to President Obama's calls for national unity.
The concept behind the idea, as articulated by Udall, is that divided seating -- and the resulting sight of one side sitting down while the other stands and claps -- is unbecoming and reinforces the appearance of an institution divided irrevocably along partisan lines. The mixed seating is obviously a cosmetic gesture, but in a town that tends to worship bipartisan gestures, talk about the idea is likely to get a lot of attention.
Republicans have largely been silent on Udall's proposal, but as Greg points out, given that there is no formal rule regarding where member's must sit, it seems plausible if not likely that at least some bipartisansit (yes, that's your new word of the day) might break out on the House floor during the address.
My $0.02: doesn't seem like a bad idea, and it could be a reasonable symbol. But the best way to get members of Congress working together is to take away their incentives to obstruct legislation, and that means taking action on the efforts by Tom Udall and Jeff Merkeley to reform the filibuster.