Friday, January 28, 2011

Mr. Smith Goes To Congress

We all know that the original version of this posting was the wonderfully populist old 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington."  It is, the star, Jimmy Stewart, played the stalwart "true believer" in American democratic ideals.

In our modern day, we see something similar -- at least, something of a similar image.  Beyond the image of the new Tea Baggers in the House, however, there lies an unsettling and unseen further story.  With this posting, MeanMesa will, once again, drop off the cliff of tedious reality into the glittery world of our own fiction.  Join us as we watch Mr. Jack Smith, the recently elected Tea Bag Congressman from the fictional state of North Virginia on his first tour of the US House of Representatives.

Mr. Smith is accompanied on this tour by the senior Republican Congressman from North Virginia, Representative Billy "Bubba" Blowhard.  As we begin, it is Mr. Smith's first day at the Capitol.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

"Congratulations on your election, Jack.  It'll be great to have another real American from North Virginia in the 112th Congress.  I'm sure that Speaker Boehner is anxious to meet you and offer his own greetings, too.  Right now, though, it might be a good idea to show you around this place so you can get your bearings."

"Thanks Bubba!  I've already been shown my office by the House staff, but I've never had a chance to see the rest of the place."

"Well, I hope you've got your walking shoes on -- we've really enlarged the old House quite a bit.  There have been lots of additions just to accommodate the folks who moved in here with us."

"But Bubba, aren't there still the same number of Representatives?"

"Oh sure, but I was referring to the other folks we'll be needing to keep the wheels of government turning while we're in charge.  You know, before we took over to make government smaller and get rid of the special interests, we had to go all the way over to K Street to pick up our campaign contribution checks.  Since we're in charge now, we decided to just move all that closer to where the action is, if you get my meaning."

The pair were walking out of the House Chamber through a nondescript doorway located at the side of the Speaker's Chair.  The new Congressman was startled as they entered a long hallway which appeared to be three or four times longer than the House Chamber itself.  As he first glanced at the scene, it seemed that there were literally hundreds of doors opening to offices along the corridor.

"Wow, Bubba.  You guys really have expanded the House offices.  Are there Representatives in all these rooms?"
"Heh, heh.  No Jack, these are the new offices we've built for the K Street Mall additions.  We had to find room for a few thousands lobbyists who needed to come right up on the Hill so they could be a little more convenient for us.  There are so many offices in here that a new Congressman can get lost.  That's why I wanted to show you around.  You'll need to be able to find the right 'go-to' places once you start doing business."

"Bubba, it looks like there are more lobbyists here than there are voters in my District back home in North Virginia."

"Don't worry, Jack.  The leadership has prepared a little map which shows who's where.  Naturally, we didn't want the thing to go public, so we're only handing it out to the new Congressmen when we can do it quietly.  Here, take a look.  Right now, we are right here."

The senior Congressman pointed to a small spot at the right edge of the floor plan.

The "Secret Map" To the
 New "K-Street" House Mall 
(image source MeanMesa)
"Now, you can see the, uh, Market Trading Floor here in the center.  This list of offices goes by the numbers.  Just find the lobbyists you're looking for on the list, check the floor plan to see where they are and you'll be able to go right to the correct office."

1.  House Chamber  (Market Trading Floor)
2.  The Greed Grotto where members can go for quiet reflection.
3.  The "Media Images Classroom" where members can learn to speak bad English with a Southern drawl and wear bad ties.
4.  The "Big Pharma Patio" where members can slip in for a couple of drinks and get their "marching orders" from the Pharmaceutical Corporations.
5. and 6.  The "Back Room" where there are no cameras or microphones.  Members can have conferences here when they want to be sure that absolutely no one can see what they are doing.  Right next to the "Back Room" is the "Closed Door" where we can make deals with each other to serve the public interests and stuff.
7.  The "No Bid" Conference Room is for making contracts with military suppliers and the like.
8.  The "East Lobbyist Lounge" where our friends can gather to talk to each other.
9.  The "Emergency Supplemental Luncheonette" where we put together funding for unpopular stuff like wars and invasions.  They serve great sandwiches free to members.
10.  The "Big Bank Bar B Que Pit" where we authorize mergers for our special banking friends.  They serve fabulous ribs at the "Pit."
11.  Is the "ROI Market Ticker" office.  All the Lobbyists watch this pretty closely to make sure they're getting their bosses' money's worth.
12. through 18. These are the close-in offices for the our "Deregulation Services Administration."  The main "Deregulation Office" is just over there in room 44.  We make the "sweet deals" over in 44, then come along over here to work out the details.  You'll notice that we have a separate office for each kind of deregulation, oil, banking, Wall Street, Health Care and the like.  For example, Room 17 here is for pollution deregulation.
19. through 26. These are the "Deregulation Tax Specialties" offices where we go to work out the tax side of the changes we make while we are dis-assembling old "job killing" regulation bills, if you know what I mean.
27. through 31.  All the offices on the South Wing are dedicated to "Campaign Cash Management. Now, although that might seem like something boring, it's at the heart of the entire mall.  Our Congressional "Money Bin" is in 28, and out "Citizens United Cash Memorial" is in 31, right on the corner with a great view of the Supreme Court.   We manage all the  conflict of interest payments to our boys on the Supreme Court in office 29.
32. Is the "West Side Lobbyist Dining Room."  Hey, everybody's got to eat!  
33.  The "Free Market Petroleum Lounge" is a kind of "freshening up" spot for our friends from the oil industry when they come to visit.  Sometimes, Big Oil leaves "campaign contributions" out on the reception table with the fresh fruit and candy.  Of course, members can help themselves.
34. through 38.  All these offices are where we manage our "International Accounts."  For example, "Off Shore Assets" are managed in 35,  and "International Special Friends" business is handled in 37.  Our favorite international "Military Contractors" are located in 38.  "Jet Liners, Tankers and Useless War Planes Sales" are in 36.
39. Is the "Member Spa and Whoopee Health Center" run by the health insurance corporations.  It's free, and it's private.  There are different girls in there every week.
40. Is a "Members-Only Alcohol and Drug Treatment."  Maybe you've wondered where in the hell we send all the members who fall down in front of the cameras on the Floor.  They just wander over there, and we report that they have entered treatment.  It's a good place to run into the Speaker.
41. through 43. These offices on the North Wing are all "Talking Points Management and Distribution Centers."  You will drop in here every morning before you have any public exposure.  The CATO guys and the Heritage Institute will have the day's list of talking points ready to go, and your job will be just slip them into any public statement you might make that day.  Just act like you have thought about whatever it is.  The media will be full of the same line no matter who is interviewed that day or the subjects.
44. Is the "House Hedge Fund and Holding Company Office."  That door will be closed to you unless you're invited in by the House leadership.

"So, Jack, there you have it.  Hang on to the little map, and make sure your staff knows where to go for what around here.  Now, have a great time, make some money and do the country's business!"

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