Wednesday, February 13, 2002

How to embarrass a Congressman

If you're reading this you must be an optimist, because there's not much evidence that these guys are capable of embarrassment. But it's still worth a try.

Back when Hillary Clinton was trying to pass her health care bill, there was a frenzy to push it through. I heard somewhere that the Democrats were trying to get signatures on a bill which still in part consisted of yellow Post-it notes. If Congress doesn't even have time to print and distribute a bill, it couldn't have had enough time to study and debate it.

Remember when some jerk journalist jumped George W. Bush with questions asking the name of various obscure world leaders? Of course he was trying to sell the official Democrat line that Bush wasn't too bright, like they try with about every other Republican.

As already noted by Megan McArdle and others, our federal legislators can't possibly be up to speed on every little thing somebody might ask them. Sure, they have large staffs, but that's still not enough.

But surely it's reasonable to ask them to know the details of legislation being discussed actively. Or anything they've voted on. Right?

Now picture this - suppose Congressmen were subjected to pop quizzes on the legislation that was scheduled for a vote. Live, on television.

I'd pay to see that, but then I'm blogging on Valentine's Day. Which leads to another item... See what happens when I take a night off to get some sleep?

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