The problem is that once your representative moves to Washington from Oregon, Alabama, or wherever, they “go native” once they are inside the Beltway. That is, they start worrying much more about what the Washington Post says rather than how well they are representing their districts and states.
So, here is my suggestion that would minimize this problem once and for all:
Disperse the government! Two hundred years ago, in the horse-and-buggy era, it made sense to have everything in the District of Columbia. Now, having everything in D.C. is a hindrance rather than a help. The people manning government departments and Congress increasingly tend to be out of touch.
So, move them outside the Beltway.
Some suggestions: Move the Department of Agriculture to Wichita or Kansas City.
Move the Department of Transportation to Chicago.
The Patent and Trademark Office should go to Silicon Valley.
The Department of the Interior should go to Denver.
Health and Human Services should be in Atlanta.
The Department of Homeland Security (which includes the Border Patrol) should move to Tucson.
Get the idea?
Move everything except Congress, Supreme Court, the White House, Defense, Justice, State, and CIA outside the Beltway. This has several beneficial effects: Their employees would be more in touch with the average person and would care less about the Washington Post. Government employees (except in an emergency) should fly commercial. Make them deal with the TSA for their monthly cabinet meeting in Washington!
Taking the Transportation Department as an example, Chicago is the transportation hub of the U.S. There are many people with a high level of expertise that already live there. It would be possible to have a smaller department with a higher level of expertise in Chicago than it is in Washington.
There is an added advantage: In an age of terrorism, it would make it harder to deal a major blow to the government…too many geographic areas to hit at once.
Finally, it would dilute the effect of lobbyists: After all, Trent Lott can only be in one city at a time.
It is time for outside-the-box thinking to solve America’s problems. Feel free to pass these on to whomever you wish. I don’t seek credit – I just want to leave an America for my children and grandchildren that is as great and full of opportunity as the one I’ve enjoyed.