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Posted at 10:25 AM ET, 08/20/2012

Caught with pants down in the Sea of Galilee


In this picture he is fully clothed, however. (Photo by Eli Reichman for The Washington Post) (Eli Reichman)

Just when Congress was starting to creep past herpes in the popularity charts, this had to go and happen.

Last year, a privately sponsored trip to Israel for members of Congress, including numerous House freshmen, wound up as so many summer trips wind up: drinking and leaping into the Sea of Galilee. One member, Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) even jumped in — as he put it — without a swimsuit. It was so bad that the next day Eric Cantor (who had turned in early and missed the excitement) reprimanded the delegation. Then the FBI investigated and Politico reported it, leading members of the delegation to make statements like, “After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit. . . . It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize.” That’s never good.

There are numerous problems with the Sea of Galilee Skinny-dipping Kerfuffle.

First, given American obesity rates, it is amazing that the term skinny-dipping is still in use. About 33.9 percent of the population can’t go skinny-anything any longer. I thought it had been supplanted by obesely-waddling-resplendently-into-the-water or comfortable-in-your-own-skin-dunking, or something.

But this is the trouble. Congress is like college. You lead a dull and unobjectionable life in order to get in and lead an exciting life. Look at David Wu, who waited to rove around in a tiger suit until after taking office. No doubt Mr. Yoder felt the same. All those nights spent at home in Kansas poring over budgets — all culminating in one moment of splendor in the sea. What’s the harm in a little exuberance?

After all, there is biblical precedent for this. In a bizarre passage in John 21, St. Peter is apparently fishing nude in the Sea of Galilee when Jesus comes walking down the shore and offering advice for better places to toss in the nets. (“Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea,” intones the King James Version.)

But St. Peter at least threw some clothes on before leaping in. Perhaps he sensed this might not play well with constituents.

By  |  10:25 AM ET, 08/20/2012

 
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