The Moose offers a modest proposal.
The House GOP leadership has handed the Democrats a golden opportunity by giving themselves a pay raise. Or as the Chief Bugman described it, "It's an adjustment so that they're not losing their purchasing power." Maybe this is is an opening to assist the GOP lose their political power.
Back when he was running for President, Senator Lamar! Alexander had an intriguing idea for Congress. Limit congressional sessions and reduce their pay. That concept seems particularly appropriate at this time, and the Moose embraces it.
Polls show that the American people strongly believe that Congress is disconnected from their concerns. The petty partisan bickering is annoying and out of touch with the lives of average Americans. And it only promises to get worse.
This Congress is an embarrassment - just turn on C-Span for proof of this self evident truth. Congress has degenerated into warring political tribes without the presence of peacekeepers. It needs to get out of town. Since there is no serious oversight over the executive branch, Congress is of little use. Of course, there is much money to be raised from lobbyists at breakfast, lunch and evening functions around town.
The Moose suggests that we implement the Lamar! plan. Reduce the pay of Congress and most Executive Branch employees and force them to mingle with the people and earn a real living for a few months. They won't be missed here in D.C. After all, we're occupied with the Nats through the summer and into the fall.
For instance, the House Majority Leader has a skill and there are surely some openings with Orkin back in Sugar Land. Speaker Hastert could be a greeter at Wal Mart back in Illinois. And the House and Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees can assist with food services at U.S. military bases in Iraq. Cabinet Secretaries can work as food servers at I-Hop and learn about concerns of the working Americans first hand. Rather than diagnose via video, Dr. Frist can return to the operating room.
Maybe, after a few months these public officials will have a new perspective on their jobs and the lives and worries of the American people. And at the very least, the taxpayer will save some money.
Although it will be a daunting task, Democrats can win back Congress in '06 if they appear to be the anti-Washington party. While the "cut their pay" campaign may be a bridge too far, Democrats should clearly position themselves as the outsiders who are taking on the inside the Beltway crony corruption. The Washington establishment is completely out of touch with the daily concerns of the American - and Democrats can ill afford to be identified with it. Indeed, they need to run against it.
Even though the GOP controls Washington, expect Bush to campaign against Democratic obstructionism and attempt to cast himself as a bold reformer. Democrats must seize the outsider persona first - never underestimate the chutzpah of the Bush crowd.
Think like Newt! --