Ask a Hill Staffer: Farm Bureau Follies
It's hot, and our building's AC is down for the day. So we're kind of miserable. But we take solace in the fact that we don't have to lead tours of the Capitol. Some folks aren't that lucky. One of those unlucky folks is (or was) our very own Anonymous Hill Staffer, who's checking in today with another installment in his glorious Quixotic quest to answer every single question about working on the Hill ever.
After the jump, ageism, mostly, with a dash of racism and a the usual smattering of nepotism.
I've read (and noticed) that the average of Hill staffers, including those involved with writing legislation, is about 25. Do you think that increasing the maturity and experience levels of these behind the scenes busy bees would reduce the number of oddities that seem to regularly pop up in legislation?
You would think it would, wouldn't you? I'm thinking the opposite though. The less mature crowd might be writing curse words into legislation in a kind of frat-boy-meets-Congress kind of way, but I think older folks would be far more insidious in their designs. The great thing about 25-year olds writing legislation is that they can't do too much harm. They're just learning how to be corrupt; they aren't totally corrupt yet. Imagine if you had someone like Jack Abramoff come back to actually write the legislation as opposed to just lobbying someone to do it? Give that guy a blank sheet of paper and see what he comes up with. A 25-year old kid is too busy trying to hook up with interns to really do anything that nasty. Think of someone like me -- how much harm can I really do? Well, 25 more years of this, and I'm going to be writing legislation like the "Give Anonymous Hill Staffer 1 Million Dollars Act of 2031," and I'll have enough power to get it passed. That's why they try to keep the average age of staffers down instead of up.
Is it true that Strom Thurmond used to wear rubber-lined pants, because he was incontinent and refused to wear an adult diaper?
Actually, I met Strom in his personal office before he died. I was looking for signs of an adult diaper when I was in there, but couldn't really tell. This could very well be the proof you are looking for because any 99-year-old man is going to have trouble shutting the spigot off. If he isn't wearing a diaper that really only leaves rubber-lined pants. I'm not an expert on how you would line pants with rubber, but given the coastal nature of South Carolina, I'm guessing he probably put yellow fisherman's pants on under his seersucker pants. I can tell you that he had a manservant though. More like a straight out of college kid. Strom couldn't do anything on his own except crap himself; so I think this kid did everything else (like changing the rubber fisherman's pants). I guess you have to want to work in Congress pretty badly if you're willing to help an old man change his soiled pants day in and day out. And I guess my job pushing paper around doesn't seem so bad anymore.
How do I get a job on the hill without a family connection? Please I must know!
Why must you know? Are you writing a newspaper article or something? I think the secret of getting a job without some sort of connection is way too big even for this column. Besides, I don't know, because I got my job through a family connection. It seems way too hard to do it otherwise. Just so I'm sure, you're asking how you get a job in Congress based on your merits, right? I think there's an employment office in the basement of Longworth that will send your resume out to offices for you, but I don't think that will get you very far. I would suggest drinking in Hill bars and starting a whispering campaign about yourself. Have you ever seen Muppets Take Manhattan? Same idea, but don't get rats to do it for you. Just go down to Bullfeathers and hide under the tables. When the lunch crowd comes in start talking about how merity you are. If that doesn't work, just start talking about how you would give head if you were a staff ass. The calls will come flooding in.
What is the most offensive comment you've heard during your time as a staffer?
OK, serious time again. This is totally true and kind of disturbing. It wasn't made by a Member of Congress or anything, but blew my mind to think that there were still people out there in the U.S. of A. that think this way. Back when I was still giving tours and such I took a bunch of Farm Bureau folks through the Capitol. Of course we stopped in the Capitol rotunda, which has several paintings and several statues. I explained the meanings of the paintings no problem, then explained that the statues were all of Presidents. They had a special place of honor in the Capitol. They were all of Presidents with one exception -- the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When I explained that Congress placed the bust in the rotunda after officially designating a national holiday for him, one of the guys on the tour said "well I just can't--" when his wife interrupted him with "oh stop now, not here!" So I asked if there was a problem, and he said "well I just can't believe Congress would put that man in the Capitol. With all these Presidents!" I'm pretty sure you can guess where it went from here. Well, holy shit. It was one of the few moments in my life where I've been speechless. God bless America, buddy.
Why, whenever you see a picture of someone affiliated with the Legislative Branch, do they have to stand on the steps of the Capitol? DC is a big town, is there nothing more interesting to use as a backdrop?
Where do you want them to take pictures? Somewhere up in Northeast DC? I hear the bums in the fountains at Union Station make a great backdrop. Maybe they should hop in a car and head up to the Cathedral for photo ops! Maybe the White House... oh wait, they don't work at the White House. They work at the Capitol. I think the main reason they don't take pictures elsewhere around DC is because it would make no fucking sense whatsoever. When you get a picture with your Congressman and put it on the wall, there's nothing about that picture besides the Capitol in the background that says what the hell the picture is about. Otherwise, people would just be getting their picture taken with a random short bald guy in front of a random spot in DC. Airlines don't put cars in their advertisements for a reason, and Congressmen don't take pictures anywhere besides the Capitol because they are way too obscure to be recognizable otherwise.