The Spectacle Blog

Let’s Get Back to Washington!

By on 10.18.06 | 12:12PM

The latest Matt Taibbi bit trying to unravel the apparent enigma of whether or not Democrats will behave like mad partisans should they retake one or both houses of Congress in Rolling Stoneposted online at AlterNet today—draws on the wisdom of that paragon of non-partisanship Charlie Rangel:

Among other things, the famed freshman class of 1994 was comprised to a large degree of young congressmen who ran against the institution of congress in their campaigns, promising to shun "Washington/>/> politics" and spend more time in their home districts...

A decade later, congress was setting the record for fewest working days ever, and House freshmen don't even shake hands with the guys on the other side of the floor. 

"We used to travel the world together," sighed Rangel. "Now we don't even come to Washington/>/> long enough to get to know each other."

It is a tragedy, is it not, that our poor Congresspeople are corralled in their districts when they could be on taxpayer-funded junkets? And could the federal budget not be at least twice its current size if representatives stopped spending so much time with their constituents and added a couple days to their workweek? In fact, let’s extend House terms to six years so members can spend less time being held accountable in their districts and more time quaffing chardonnay with Rangel and the Senate gang on overseas flights to super exotic locales cutting deals on new entitlements all the livelong day.

And further down:

The young Democrat sitting next to Rangel who looks at a Republican like a Crip lining up a Blood might be the future of politics generally.

"If Feingold or whoever is president in '08," says defense analyst and former Senate staffer Winslow Wheeler, "don't expect a sudden flowering of oversight."

Excuse me? Feingold?! Personally, I’m no fan of pragmatism and feel much more comfortable with ideological losers, but if Feingold at the top of the ’08 ticket is a real possibility, I strongly suggest my more pragmatic liberal friends get the Draft Or Whoever effort underway immediately.

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