This article from the WSJ provides us with a look of the final special indignities being heaped upon those legislators of the 111th Congress who will not be joining their colleagues for the 112th Congress. Essentially, said legislators have been removed from their offices and relegated to a temporary cubicle farm in the bowels of the House office building. They get two chairs apiece (plus space for two more staffers elsewhere), a phone line, office supplies… and, for those who weren’t retiring anyway, no doubt the furtive, repulsion-based pity of their peers. There’s over ninety freshmen Members of Congress coming in next year, after all: and almost seventy of those freshmen represent flipped seats. So there’s no real interest in keeping folks out of the cubicle farm.
I bring all of this up because there are two things that I would like to note towards House freshmen (and their staffers) in this matter. The first thing is, Isn’t this great? The second is, DON’T. LET THIS HAPPEN. TO YOU.…because it will if Republican legislators take the wrong lesson from this. A large part of quote-unquote ‘independent voters’ are actually conservatives who are more or less deeply skeptical of the Republican party’s conservative bona fides. And they are not liberal Democrats; conservatives are perfectly capable of staying home on Election Day, and did so in ’06 & ’08. You can argue whether or not this is a good working strategy (here’s a graph that argues ‘not,’ but the debate rages on), but it’s definitely a real one. All is not forgiven, in other words. And don’t even bother to ask if anything is forgotten.
So be careful, ye new Republican freshmen. Because if you aren’t, in 2012 it may be your turn to sit in the basement, while Democrats drink your pain.
Moe Lane (crosspost)