Below the Beltway

A poll-ish joke... and the last laugh is on Gene Weingarten

Below the Beltway
(Eric Shansby)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Gene Weingarten
Sunday, February 21, 2010

A recent poll found that a plurality of Americans think we'd be better off today if Congress was selected at random from the phone book. Now, you may share the notion that ordinary people tap into a vast wellspring of civic concern, common-sense judgment and pureness of heart. As a journalist who hears from these ordinary people all the time, I know better. They tap into a vast wellspring of Bud Lite. Basically.

I decided to ridicule the poll results by flipping through the phone book and randomly calling Joe and Jolene Lunchbuckets. I would ask them complex questions, with comical results.

Call 1: Remes, Robert

Me: Let's say there's a vote to invoke cloture on a debate over an appropriations bill allocating revenue-sharing funds to municipalities based on the disproportionality of their tax burden as calculated for the previous fiscal year. Would you vote yes?

Robert: Absolutely.

Me: You understood that?

Robert: Sure. I'm a lawyer. I don't like filibusters.

Call 2: Bird, Eugene

Me: Do you think global warming is for real?

Eugene: Actually, I have a daughter who is in Alaska right now, flying over the ice floes toward the North Pole, cataloguing how the ice cap is receding. So, yes, I think it's real.

Me: And how much money in campaign contributions would it take to change your opinion?

Eugene: Whatever it takes to get me reelected. I'm a lobbyist. I understand.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company