Did Rush Limbaugh Just Endorse iCongress?
Last Thursday, Rush Limbaugh gave tacit approval of a stunning idea: a virtual Congress.
To start, Rush spent the better part of two hours brilliantly explaining why even the best people we send to Washington will never rein in the federal government. Simply put, once in Washington, the vast majority of our elected officials become of Washington, and their limited-government instincts die. There are many reasons for this, but all fall under the general heading of irresistible human nature.
As economist Jerry Bowyer says, Washington is a company town, and the company is government. I love Jim DeMint, but if he owns a house in greater D.C., he too will benefit from a town that grows in size and power through his home equity. Even the Ted Cruzes have their lifestyles enhanced when surrounded by ever-increasing money and power. Rush called it the new gold rush.
Company town, indeed, and there's not a damned thing we can do about it, as long as everybody in the company is located near HQ.
With this realization, the only solution is to take the pols out of Washington. Yes, this would be hard, but we either move them geographically or change human nature -- and the latter is impossible.
It is worth noting that the virtual Congress exists in the same realm as the idea of term limits. In fact, having members serve from their districts is actually a superior solution to the same problems the term-limits people aim to address. To wit: without a doubt, career politicians are a blight on our Republic. But why is that? It's because they get too entrenched in Washington and too isolated from reality. John Boehner's problem is not so much that he's been in Congress too long (although that is a problem); it's more that he's been in Washington too long.
If Coppertone John still spent most of his time in Ohio, he'd be more like the contractor who helped author the Contract With America and less like the bronzed one who helped Ted Kennedy write No Child Left Behind ten years later. Geography matters, because it dictates who your sphere of influence is 24/7/365.
Besides -- and this is important -- since we could never term-limit lobbyists and congressional staffers, limiting the members of Congress would only direct even more power into the hands of unelected and unaccountable lobbyists, staffers, and consultants. These people already have too much influence, and they are all career creatures of Washington. In this way, term limits would make the Beltway influence situation even worse.
However, if we simply purchased a few smartphones and a "Go To Meeting" account, we could have Congress work from the real world by next week. Then all the staffers and lobbyists would also have to work in the real world. Moreover, this would completely change the type of person who would even seek these jobs, as this one revision would totally alter, and significantly reduce, the power-grab incentives. Today, the way to be successful in politics is to join the Washington career machine. There is no reason not to use what is now very pedestrian technology to flip this reality overnight.
Changing location changes everything, and today, it's easy to do.
For crying out loud, if a tiny low-tech business owner can use "Go To Meeting," then our government can, too. If Anthony Weiner can destroy a political career in his spare time, then why can't all our politicians use the same technology to do their jobs instantly, from locations across the country?
As we know now from research on so-called Super Zip Codes, many of the richest counties anywhere are in northern Virginia and Maryland. Inside this bubble, nothing is produced but regulation, lobbying, and taxation -- and consulting about all of the above. This part of the country is living off the backs of the rest of the nation. This is obscene, unjust, and devastating. We are paying people handsomely to destroy us. And those we send up there to correct it actually benefit greatly by their failure to do so.
Human nature is what it is. Why do we insist on swimming against the tide?
Now, I'm sure some are saying that there is value in face-to-face dealings, and I agree. Those vital personal meetings should happen more often -- with constituents inside the district. They should happen less often with lobbyists and staffers who know and care nothing about those constituents and those districts. If a newly elected conservative congressman would run into normal people at every sushi bar, PTA meeting, health club, and cocktail party -- instead of the glitterati he bumps into inside the Beltway -- the chances of that representative staying committed to limited government would increase exponentially. That's before you factor in other tangibles like home values and junkets and so on.
As Rush said, "[t]rillions of dollars every year are concentrated in that tiny geographic area. It makes perfect sense that human beings would gravitate there trying to get their share. And make no mistake: everybody in life is pursuing money -- left, right, charity, nonprofits. Everybody's pursuing money. Everybody wants a raise. Everybody wants to improve their standard of living. Everybody wants to be rich, and especially those that go to Washington. ... I'm expressing all this within the context of I think everybody in that town has a vested interest in that town growing, not shrinking."
Rush is famous for saying that "words mean things," and he's right. The words he just uttered mean that as long as everyone with power is concentrated in Washington, there is no chance that Washington's influence in our lives will be rolled back. We have an opportunity to address everything about human nature that makes this so: a virtual Congress that keeps members out of that tiny geographic area.
We have no excuse not to do it. All of the tools necessary can be purchased at a single Walmart today. We wouldn't even need Amazon to deliver them with drones, and the only downside is that finally, Washington real estate values would feel the reality we've all felt for five years.
The author is a frequent contributor to American Thinker, author of WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost...Again, and now owner of the URL icongressnow.com.