November 2nd came and went and the steady flow of grief counselors into the Capitol Hill offices of FORMER representatives is a wonder to behold. What we have not yet beheld is how the NEW folks will perform in the toxic environment of Washington. We shall soon know if they are strong and principled enough to resist the onslaught of K Street influence peddlers arriving bearing “gifts” of cash, assorted goodies and pledges of well-laundered campaign contributions in 2012, not to mention “…to infinity and beyond” (assuming, of course, they vote “right”).
As you contemplate THAT problem, there’s another – one I broached in a comment I recently posted here on the GOOOH blog -- that begs to be addressed. And that is “What is to be done about the HILL RATS?”
Hill Rats (HR for brevity) are the allegedly “professional” staffers who inhabit Capitol Hill. That appellation is one they often use humorously among themselves. It flows from their penchant to scurry like rats to a new member – frequently ANY MEMBER -- after their current boss gets a pink slip from the folks back home. Because they have an overwhelming need to remain close to Henry Kissinger’s “ultimate aphrodisiac” of political power, the politics of the prospective new boss often don’t matter.
A disturbing number of HRs are “progressives” whose years on the Hill have convinced them that government can solve any and all problems. Fortunately for the rest of us, many of them wind up in the offices of equally “progressive” members. Some do not -- and therein lies the danger.
What the HR brings to the table -- the “official,” decades-old rulebook of how to play the Capitol Hill “game” of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” – is his or her appeal to the newbie. If hired -- and after the HR shows his new boss where the john is --far too many of these new bosses rely too heavily on the HR for how to “go along to get along” in the thoroughly corrupt system that has caused the mess in which we now find ourselves.
With an apology to the memory of the late Billy Mays, “Wait, there’s more”!
Let’s say the newbie needs an “expert” on tax policy. Well, son-of-a-gun, the HR just happens to have an equally big government progressive college chum who works at the IRS! Need an “expert” on education policy. Darned if that other HR he hired doesn’t have an old teacher friend who “works”– and I use that term very loosely -- over at the Department of Education! You now know why the more things change, the more they stay the same – especially in Malfunction Junction. In addition to Term Limits, it appears we will also need TENURE LIMITS on the Hill Rats with stiff penalties for breaking the rules!
I recently heard Newt Gingrich confirm what I’ve suspected for a couple of decades. He said that— horrors -- the Obamacare Bill was almost certainly written at 3 am by bleary-eyed 25 year-old HRs groggy on beer and pizza. I’m not sure why that was so shocking as it is how nearly ALL so-called legislation has been cobbled together up there for far too long. It’s why Otto von Bismarck cautioned that there are two things one should never watch being made: SAUSAGE AND LAWS.
It is also why the late Georgia Representative Larry McDonald repeatedly lamented that around 85% of the bills to make it to a vote failed his first and most important test: “IS IT CONSTITUTIONAL?” (#2 was “Do we need it” and #3 was “Can we afford it?”)
One of the things we all need to do BEFORE we get behind new candidates to replace the 8 term retreads who have grown wealthy selling us out at nearly every turn is to insist that they draw their key staffers from folks in the district who may still have a grip on reality out here in flyover country -- then hold their feet to the fire on that pledge -- or replace them next time!
GOOOH offers an exciting alternative to the current system by opening it up to honest-to-goodness NEW candidates for those offices. GOOOH has been holding and will continue to hold candidate selection sessions around the country where regular citizens come together and choose one of their number to enter what has customarily been a controlled and closed party candidate selection process.
Where the current party system too often selects candidates based on who they know or how many favors they have done for other members, GOOOH candidates will be chosen on the basis of their answers to a rather detailed survey on the Constitution, our founding principles and how well they are able to articulates those beliefs. All of it is an effort to determine how tightly the prospective candidate will hold to those core beliefs in the face of the “go along to get along” modus operandi now the norm in Washington.
If you want to join with your neighbors in continuing the effort to restore common sense and sanity to government, please visit the GOOOH website at