Politico with an amusing set of cries from the heart from freshman congressfolk on how awful their jobs are and how helpless they feel:
House GOP freshmen, who roared into town with a radical plan to remake Washington, are finding themselves in the dumps as they confront an unpleasant realization: This job is a drag.
Far from the take-on-the-world euphoria that marked their arrival a year ago, many freshmen report a rising frustration over the capital's dysfunction and gridlock — and even despair that they can ever do much of anything about it…..
after a year of eleventh-hour deals to avert shutdown and a national debt default, the failure of their legislative prize, a balanced-budget amendment, and now the failure of the supercommittee, the rookie lawmakers seem to have less faith than ever in their ability to force big changes in Washington…..
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor and first-time legislator with a knack for candidly summing up the feelings of his freshman colleagues, said…."But the idealism of being able to go to Washington and band together with like-minded people to alter [the] trajectory of the country — you can't even alter the trajectory of the [Republican] Conference," Gowdy said. "You either recalibrate what you define as success, or you have a frank, candid conversation with yourself about how you want to spend the rest of your professional career."
Please do, Rep. Gowdy, and all the rest of you. None of this should have been a surprise to any of them, of course, considering both the actual power of congresspeople and the obvious frightening inertia of modern big, bigger, and biggest government. And perhaps–perhaps!–it's better that people do come into Congress with a hint of idealism rather than simply punching a ticket toward some sort of law firm or lobbying job they expect to pay well later. I await seeing the congress members quoted in this story explain the hopelessness of their situation to their constituents–that kind of frankness from a politician could be bracing and useful. Though, given general incumbent re-election power, they could also all just settle back and take it and cash the checks forever. And I'm guessing that's what they'll do.