Congresscritters spend 4 hours/day on the phone, begging for money


#1

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Count to ten thousand!
#2

I learned about this from a “This American Life” episode. It’s definitely an indicator of how broken the system is, but it also made me feel sorry for our elected representatives. Imagine being someone who runs for office out of a genuine desire to do good but having to sell your soul like this for hours every day just to stay in the game.


#3

It’s like Congress forgot they can just reform this shitty system whenever they choose.

I don’t get it at all.


#4

Who has the time?


#5

Me too, heard the This American Life about this and it is so sad and insane. Of course you will submit to the control of whatever source of funds you can get once you have been groomed this way.


#6

Aren’t they mostly multimillionaires? Can’t they self-fund like Trump? :wink:

When campaign costs routinely go into 7 figures for down ticket races, this seems inevitable. Campaign financing is broken, and electioneering needs sorting, but how do you get around the 1st amendment?


#7

The TAM episode made me realize it’s not even really about “submitting” to the will of the donors, more like “if you spend almost all your time with moneyed interests you won’t get much opportunity to hear the little guy’s point of view.” If almost everyone you interact with makes a case for Solution A and you barely even have a chance to meet anyone who believes in Solution B then odds are good that the former position is the one which is going to win you over.

Case in point: Sometimes-liberal Senator Dianne Feinstein in California is a staunch supporter of Intellectual Property laws favored by big studios. I suspect that has less to do with “bribery” than ignorance. She spends who-knows-how-many hours every election cycle wooing big donors in California (read: IT and Entertainment industry bigwigs), and probably very few of those donors have had the time or inclination to explain the long-term benefits of a less restrictive approach to copyright.


#8

Not only is our political system for sale, but it’s a hard sell, with cold calls. Somebody has to do a congressman/Glen Garry Glenn Ross mashup.


#9

I think you hit the nail on the head. They are surrounded in this insulated bubble of moneyed interests. Regular folks, with regular issues have no access.


#10

Make everything single term limits. Boom. Don’t have to do it.

Might want to increase House seats to 4 years to make it worth it.


#11

This piece is a poster child for term limits.


#12

Downside: congress consists solely of a bunch of fresh-faced ideologues who don’t know how to actually get anything done, and who won’t face any political fallout from the long term consequences of their actions.


#13

No one wants to step up and promise to reform, because of all the others who won’t. They are chickenshit.


#14

That is never gonna happen because you got to change the actual Constitution. It’s so difficult to pass an Amendment anyway (term limits would be one), but to actually pass an Amendment changing Article I, section 2? It specifically states every two years.

Also, I know you would have a hard time with Americans gutting one of the first ten Amendments…


#15

2 years seems ludicrously short to me. I guess it wasn’t the case when it was written, but now that really just means congresscritters not in safe seats are constantly running for re-election.


#16

True story: friend of mine was thinking of running for Congress until she saw this. She’d be a huge improvement over our current Congresscritter, but he’s willing to make the calls and she isn’t.


#17

I think that’s how you get the rich friends who can be hit up for money. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be a multimillionaire for long.


#18

Would earnest rookies still be preferred to experienced lawmakers who are bought and sold 5x over? And you second sentence makes it sound like politicians currently suffer consequences for their actions beyond not getting re-elected? (Which is fairly rare.)

It seems to me they get support staff, which could include seasoned people who would stay on (secretaries, assistants, etc), who makes sure they know the ins and outs of protocol etc.


#19

Less of a gutting, and more of a tweaking. Term limits with an increase in time for the House seems reasonable.

The original theory was congress was something you did for a stint after already doing something cool. Not a career path.


#20

Or maybe term time-outs, where you can run every other cycle.