The DC Echo Chamber

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echo chamberIf Congress ends up not giving the President a vote of confidence to bomb Syria – it might just be because Congress actually spent time with their constituents this past month or so. If they were in DC, they’d be much more likely to go along with their leadership. It is for that reason a buddy of mine (who is in a position to know, believe me) wants to, in his words: “Destroy the DC Echo Chamber”

Here’s an email from the inside about the reason things are how they are, and why the Syria resolution to give the President the go-ahead to bomb may just fail. It’s an eye-opener, but makes perfect sense:

Working on Capitol Hill, I learned quickly that loyalty to the boss (Member of Congress) is a good thing, but not one that will keep you employed over the long-term. When working for an elected official, job security is iffy at best. But when you work for the bureaucrats, they will find a place for people that play nice.  Every staffer that wants a career in politics adheres to this rule. That loyalty thing, well, they are loyal to leadership.  And when they are advising their boss, they dance to the leadership’s tune.

I could be wrong, but I suspect this resolution will fail… at least I hope it does.  What matters will be why it failed, if indeed it does. I could play it safe and tell you afterwards, but, what fun would that be?

So here my thoughts on the why.

The elected officials seldom listen to constituents, they listen to lobbyists, leadership and staff (who listen to leadership).  District staff doesn’t like DC staff, and DC staff doesn’t like the people back in the district. Back in the district, you hear from constituents and you don’t hear from leadership.

DC staff learns to craft letters to the crazy people (constituents) back in the district, making sure not take a stand on an issue. It’s difficult to get people organized if they don’t know where the elected official actually stands.

Back to Syria and why it will fail… it will fail because they are not in the echo chamber that is DC. Leadership, and staffers haven’t had the opportunity to corral them.  But, stay vigilant, they have to go back and the pressure will mount.

So, with modern technology, why do they need to be in DC anyway?  To vote?  To sit in committee meetings and play poker on their iPhones? Right now they spend 3 weeks in DC and 1 week back in their district.  The 1 week back is usually spent explaining why they voted the way they did during the 3 weeks they were on the Hill.  They don’t represent their constituents, they represent their leadership.

Thfreshmanis country would be so much better off if legislators were out of DC and back in their district… it will save money; money for the taxpayers, money for the congressman not having to have two residences. Not to mention how much more they would tend to legislate in the interest of the people they represent – and not the conniving lobbyists.

In 2010 when we saw a huge sweep of new candidates into office, the rate of incumbency was still over 80%. If we can’t vote the bums out, then maybe we can at least send them home to listen to the people. Let’s move into the modern era and have these people telecommute! They can vote by Skype, stay in their own homes with their families – away from the interns, lobbyists, other congress people and Senators and professional bureaucrats who only serve to corrupt. And being in their districts, they’ll no doubt find a new feeling of what they were elected to do: Represent.


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