Hello everyone, I'm hanging out at a Starbucks near Capitol Hill, killing some time before I head back to the airport and fly home to the warm(er) weather. I'm having a wonderful time in Washington but my thin Floridian blood is not a fan of the wind here.
I've had some meetings in the Capitol Hill area the past few days, and spent some time wandering around the hallways of the congressional office buildings. If you haven't visited before, there are three huge buildings, Cannon, Longworth, and Rayburn, that are right next to each other that house the offices for all the Members of Congress, the committees, and of course lots and lots of administrative and support staff. Underground tunnels connect the three buildings.
Anyway, the midterm elections have resulted in a lot of changes...new Members of Congress coming in, defeated Members packing up and going home (bye bye, Alan Grayson!), other Members changing offices due to new committee assignments/advancements in seniority, etc. The hallways in Cannon, Longworth, and Rayburn look like there's some kind of insane garage sale going on right now, furniture stacked up along all the walls.
The building maintenance staff is going nuts trying to coordinate moving everything around. I shared an elevator with a guy who was pushing a cart with a huge wooden desk that was some kind of antique...he mentioned that he was stressed out because they had told him that the Congressman had spent "thousands of dollars" on it...not sure if that was to buy the desk or to ship it to Washington, but either way, this poor man was really having a hard time fitting it in the elevator without banging it on the walls and he looked about ready to cry. Not sure which Congressman it was, but he had better appreciate that desk!
Besides all the furniture moving, a lot of offices are doing some housecleaning. I saw several tables set up with books, office supplies, etc. with signs indicating that the items were being discarded so they were free for the taking. Being a bookworm, I stopped to look at the stacks of books to see if there were any interesting titles, and at one table in the Cannon Building, I saw this:
|If you call yourself a tea partier and you haven't read this book, shame on you.|
...a brand new copy of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged! Score! My copy was my mother's from college and it's definitely seen better days...the cover is held on with tape, what can I say, it's been well-loved. I was happy to get a new copy of this great book, and the fact that I could say I picked it up in the Congressional offices was just an added bonus.
On the Metro ride back from Capitol Hill, I opened up the book and just had to laugh when I saw the inside cover:
Of course Atlas Shrugged would get thrown out by a Democrat! Representative Ellison doesn't even have the excuse that he's leaving office (the voters in Minnesota's 5th District re-elected him to a second term last month).
The fact that a Democrat is discarding the book that is viewed by many as the the "bible" of limited government says a lot, IMHO. Maybe if Ellison and more of his Democratic colleagues had taken some time to study this book, they might have learned some useful ideas and not suffered, as President Obama put it, such a "shellacking" at the ballot box.
I'm going to forward this on to FreedomWorks. I'm very interested to see what they think about it. ;-)