By Bill Maher
A couple reporters at the Huffington Post recently got hold of a PowerPoint presentation the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gives to incoming members of Congress, and it's worse than you'd think. First slide: "Michele Bachmann is even shorter and crazier in person. Don't say we didn't warn you."
Okay, even if that were true, it wouldn't be the scary part. That comes later, when it notes that the leadership expects that freshmen members take about five hours out of every day and devote it to fundraising. Yes, five. That means you're either on the phone with donors listening to them tell you their inane, self-serving ideas before saying, "(Name of donor), I think what you're saying is very important and I'm completely behind you, while not actually committing to supporting anything you just said. More importantly, can I have some money?" Or you're in strategy sessions to figure out other ways to get money. Or you're doing outreach to find new people ...that you can eventually ask for money.
Former Rep. Tom Perriello even said that the 4-5 hours may even be "low-balling the figure so as not to scare the new members too much."
Jimmy Swaggart asked people for money less than this.
You know when NPR does their pledge drive once a year, when they take a few hours out of their programming to remind you that they're member-supported public radio and if you want more stories about the plight of soy farmers in Togo you're going to have to pony up some cash? It's annoying, right? Okay, now picture if NPR had to do that five hours of every day. You'd sense that something was horribly wrong with this system. To say nothing of what it would do to the people who worked there. Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne would drink hemlock together.
Well, this is what our members of Congress spend about half of their day doing. Why should we be surprised when it attracts people who aren't that bright or talented, or who come off as cheap salespeople, and are easily bought off?