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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  1. RightGunner says

    The author would like the following solution. Washington DC will remain as the seat of American’s history, with museums, libraries, monuments, etc. However the Capitol will periodically move around the country, the location chosen based on proposals from the various states, similar to the way the Olympics moves around the World.

    An advantage is that all the entrenched lobbyists, brokers and others attempting to
    sway the legislators, will have to play some catch up which may reduce their impact. However the greatest advantage is that the incredible graft accumulated in the choosing each new site, can be used to eliminate the income tax.

  2. Kioga says

    Excellent article to give Americans thought on term limits and recalls !

  3. $4397431 says

    One of the best ideas so far that I have heard. Now to work on TERM LIMITS would be nice. It is a must have.

  4. Sharon Jeanguenat says

    I agree 100%

  5. cvxxx says

    And who do the leaders work for? Big donations. So who do they represent?

  6. Jay Star says

    We used to have leverage by voting. We no longer do for the old saying stuffing the ballot box applies. Until someone cleans that up, a false majority will rule.

    1. cvxxx says

      Agreed. The first thing is to cut the big corporate and donors out of the equation. Taxpayer funded from beginning to end.

  7. $38572143 says

    How about eliminate the party system all together every one runs as an AMERICAN and they must be born AMERICAN. Anyone taking money from the huge corporate lobbyist gets 20 years in prison for treason. It is high time these politicians stopped living like kings I would eliminate ALL benefits that are above and beyond what the average citizen gets and they would not get them for life nor would they get them after the first term they would have to be vested just like anyone else. First things first 80% would go directly to prison for crimes they already committed against the country.

  8. Dan Moore says

    Wow! That sounds like a really good idea. We would be able to have face time with our representative instead of having them insulated in Washington. Let’s push to get this rolling.

    1. Jay Star says

      I really don’t think that would work because of security. If the national vote can be compromised , don’t you think a congress ya or nay could? Just saying, but maybe with proper security it might be feasible.

  9. Beaglescout says

    This is something the Tea Party Republicans should lead. Social Media and communications allow anyone anywhere to reach the whole world. Surely a representative at the district office can get saturation coverage in his/her local market, and this coverage will spread to the nation if it is powerful enough.

  10. Oneyeopn says

    I love it…..the politicians and political science graduates will hate it……it keeps them from being able to dig deep in the public coffers!!

  11. Markusdecarcus says

    Efficiency?, in Government?….C’mon…….

  12. James Maxwell says

    Based upon the staffers we see on capitol hill they work for the toddy in office at the time and when
    the toddy is fired by the voters the minions just move over to another elected officials and continue
    their push for whoever is willing to pay them.

  13. cdansreau says

    Interesting article. One thing not emphasized is the gross subservience to party politics. The official listens to the party leader first, then the lobbyists then the voters. One suggestion would be to eliminate the minority/majority positions in congress and eliminate quorum seating in favor of alphabetical seating by states.

    There are many bills passed that congress does not have the constitutional authority to pass. Use of Skype or other messaging tools could allow states to ratify some of these bills in a timely manner

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