Over next five weeks Congress should…

Last week Congress left Washington for a five-week recess, a break from the flurry of inaction they have been involved in over the past year.

What can members of Congress do over the next five weeks to make sure they return to Washington rested, ready and reinvigorated for another whack at governing? Here are some suggestions:

  • Do nothing. Relax, take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV, turn off the cell phones. Tell your aides that the first one who knocks on your door with some kind of business to discuss will be fired. Read some books like Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” If you can’t do that for five whole weeks, try it for a couple of days.
  • Talk to people. Real people, not political consultants or advisors. Put on some jeans and sneakers and go grocery shopping. Strike up a conversation with the lady with three kids hanging on her cart and ask how things are going. Or go to the hardware store and pretend to be looking for some obscure part you need for your broken garbage disposal, and talk to the other frustrated home repairers. Find out what’s happening in their lives. Be as incognito as possible. Don’t announce where you are going to be going, just find people and listen to them.
  • Make a list of things you have accomplished, and things you had hoped to accomplish in Congress. The first list will be rather short, the second will be rather long. Try to figure out ways to get more things from the second list onto the first list. Think about other members of Congress whom you can call on to help do these things, especially members of the other party. Think about the reasons you haven’t been able to call on them, and decide whether or not those reasons make sense. If they don’t, make plans to call them once you get back to D.C.
  • Make a vow to be the best member of Congress you can be, not the most electable.
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