Telecongress

September 29, 2005

John Dvorak recommends decentralizing and networking the federal government (link via Digg), by which he means allowing Congresspersons to do most of their work from their home districts. He points out security as one benefit (the legislature is no longer susceptible to a single strike) as well as reconnecting representatives to the people they represent:

…if congressmen, representatives and senators alike were in their
hometowns most of the time, rather than in expensive Georgetown flats,
they would have a better grip on what constituents want from them.

Another huge benefit, of course, would be a drastic reduction in the amount of money the American people spend on flying Congress back and forth to their districts every weekend during campaign season. I’m starting to like this idea. C-SPAN could have each recognized speaker on a webcam. They could even have a grid of all the representatives who are connected to the session and light up their sections in different colors depending on how they vote on the issue at hand. It would be just like Hollywood Squares. Digitizing Congress could, if done right, also have the benefit of creating more transparency in government and easier access to information for citizens. It’s an idea worth considering, though I doubt that Congress themselves will move on it anytime soon.

UPDATE: Stephen Green has some comments to add about whether Congress is likely to go along with Dvorak’s plan. It definitely would face some resistance, seeing as congresspersons would lose many of their perks and the media and lobbyists would lose their ready access.

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One Response to “Telecongress”

  1. TF6S Says:

    Jake,

    Good points. Dvorak is right: the longer a politician spends inside the beltway, the more detached he becomes from reality. Ted Kennedy doesn’t piss me off because he is a liberal, he pisses me off because he’s so absorbed in being a politician that he is incapable of making good sense on any issue. The guy is the absolute poster child for term limits in the Senate.

    Speaking of which, imagine a Congress envisioned by Dvorak combined with term limits?

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