It just occurred to me that being a minority rep (that is to say a representative whose party is in the minority, not, for instance, a Puerto Rican) is probably a lot like being vice-president. You have an important title and can walk around feeling big and making lots of noise, but really, you don’t have the power. The other guy does. This is especially true now that the House is under the yoke of the Hastert (non-)Rule, which even Hastert, revealing to the 8 percent of the population who’ve heard of him that he was still alive, rejects.

It speaks to the essential weakness of the modern-day Republican party that they’re even willing to invoke a procedure named for a guy named Denny. Denny’s not the name of a legislator or statesman, it’s the name of a soft rock promulgator, a surfer, or a sympathetic drug casualty. Even his predecessor’s moniker, Newt, while reptilian, at least speaks to a cold-blooded competence.

Yes, I know, a newt is an amphibian. But that fact would not help convey my intent. Anyway, the slithering newt may be amphibian, but the equally-slithering political Newt is clearly a reptile.

But what do I know? Go ask a political scientist. I only talk about this because, maybe, it informs my sense of myself — even with a seat in the House — as a shyster.

That, I think, is why I’ve been reluctant to hire a staff. I mean, what do I even do? I take the bus between Manhattan and DC.

And get to use a cloakroom without tipping the girl.


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