POLITICAL POETIC LICENSE: Ode to a House Reading Clerk

POLITICAL POETIC LICENSE: Ode to a House Reading Clerk

Susan Cole, the House Reading Clerk who featured so prominently in the C-SPAN coverage of the election of Kevin McCarthy to become Speaker of the House of Representatives, proved to be perhaps the most stoic figure through the contentious fight for the speakership.

Cole is a Republican who previously served as the reader for the House Financial Services Committee.

She’s been at the job for just over fifteen years, having secured it after a three-minute audition in 2007.

Cole told The Hill that, for fun, she likes to read the writings of Abraham Lincoln. She is a graduate of Peay State University in Tennessee.

As the House fight intensified, many noted Cole’s seemingly preternatural calm, patiently waiting and working through various pronouncements as she recorded each member’s vote.

She’s so dispassionate, in fact, that this is her LinkedIn profile:

Below is a personal ode to Ms. Cole, reigning queen of record-keeping.


Oh, glassy-eyed glarer!

Heart snarer!

Humor sparer!

Willful woman of note,

How we dote on your vote,

With each tally wrote

Wholly I am smote!

Twelve, thirteen, fourteen times

McCarthy’s bell chimes!

As you with your pencil

Diligently stencil

With neat nicks and crosses

Delightful losses

Within your wee book.

A quick dour look

As a Congressman preaches,

Those unholy breaches

Of decorum

In your forum,

You goddess of rules

Ruling the fools

With pure grace,

A stern face,

An even tone

Cutting to the bone.

Onward, great matron!

I, a mere patron,

Will follow in awe

As you follow the law

And proceed with procedure

While the mighty and meager

Sit impatient and eager.

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Ross Rosenfeld

is a news analysis and opinion writer whose work has also appeared in the New York Daily News and Newsweek. He lives in New York.