Imagine getting a job where the conditions are the following:
* Six-figure base salary
* Dozens of people work for you, doing everything for you but make a few speeches when a TV crew is nearby, so you can get your face time
* Tens of thousands more each year to spend on your office, personal expenses, and postage
* You have to apply for your job again every so often, but once in, there's historically a 97% chance you get to keep the job
* An unbelievable number of people will offer an unbelievable amount of money to advertise how great you are, and to help you (as historically is the case) leave your job much, much wealthier than your salary can explain
* Oh yeah, you also get to ignore the people you're supposed to be working for
In 1997, former Wahington Post report Ronald Kessler published a book called "Inside Congress". It was not very complimentary about Representatives and Senators, but it was pretty well-documented. Adultery, Bribery, Character Assassination, Duplicity, there's a whole alphabet of nasty things to say about Congress.
Why bring all this up? Because I sent out a letter yesterday to the whole bunch of 'em, excepting those who don't have valid e-mail addresses (I'm sending faxes to those, and should have those out by Tuesday of nest week). The readers over at Polipundit came up with the questions, and boted the 20 faves for the letter. The questions are pretty balanced, I think, and we'll get a good idea of how Congress thinks, and how responsible they feel to the nation. At worst, we'll confirm the past has not really changed. That would explain why Clinton couldn't get much done when he enjoyed Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress, and why Dubya may have trouble with clear GOP advantages this time around.
But, just maybe, we can find out that there are some good guys around, some elected officials who realize that as Federal officials, their duty is to the nation, all of us, and this is a chance for them to show the boss that they are clear about their mission.
There is a 3rd possibility, as well. From the auto-responses sent by the offices so far, I see a lot of presumption on the Congressman/Senator's part - an arrogant assumption that they owe nothing at all to people outside their district/state, and little more to the ones who are their territorial constituents. If this is the case, I have every intention of shaming their egos, if I can get the blogosphere rallied. They can ( and certanly will ) ignore one presumptuous blogger, but there is a force here I don't think Congress has learned, and it may be time for a lesson.
For now, I sit and wait. And I send out faxes to Congressmen who think they owe no accounting of themselves, if their websites are any indication.