TLP: Well, Considering How that Whole C Street Thing Went Down ...
How cute. A dozen or so of the newly elected members of Congress are planning to sleep in their offices. You know, to show how frugal they are and how much they're not like the rest of those bastards they couldn't wait to be.
The class of 2010 is arriving in Washington during the worst economic crisis since the Depression, carried into town atop a surge of anti-incumbent anger that swept many longtime Capitol denizens aside. For them, appearances and substance merge.So, is this being cost-conscious and demonstrating some sort of "I'm one of you" solidarity with constituents? Or is it being cheap and getting free living accommodations on the taxpayer landlords who own the offices? The answer will come when we see how long it lasts.
Freshman Todd Rokita (R., Ind.) was floored when shown a 600-square-foot, $2,000-a-month studio. He'll sleep in his office instead. "I'm not doing this as a political stunt," he says. "I'm doing this because I'm a cheap b—." Most House members earn $174,000 a year and maintain homes in their districts.
"I don't want to be comfortable in Washington because I need to get back to metro Detroit," says Democrat Clarke Hansen, another office sleeper-elect. "Businesses are struggling right now. Families are struggling. I'm only in Washington to work."
One veteran sofa extremist is Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican who has camped out in his office two or three nights a week since 1993. In his failed run for Michigan's governorship this year, he put out an ad showing him sitting on his couch in his plaid pajamas. Now he's retiring, and hundreds of his constituents have let his successor, Republican Bill Huizenga, know they expect him to sleep on the sofa, too.
"I think back home there's a sense of frugality and sort of a spartan element that this isn't a place where you're going to call home and get too comfortable," says Mr. Huizenga. Still, he's a bit cautious. He's six-foot-one, and the Hoekstra couch is just six feet long. Maybe an inflatable mattress, he thinks.