The Post ruminates today on whether the new crop of anti-Washington congressmen will go native, as so much of the class of 1994 did. Some great quotes suggest the answer is yes:
“They run against Washington calling it a cesspool and discover that it’s really a hot tub,” said Craig Shirley, president of Shirley and Bannister, a conservative public relations shop based in Alexandria.
Fourteen of those 73 freshmen [from 1994] remain in the House, but many more are still in Washington. “A lot of them went on to have relationships with big lobbies or law firms here,” Killian says. “Most decided, ‘It’s great in Washington and I want to stay, so I’ll figure out a way.’ People want to take you to dinner all the time, and everybody’s hanging on your every word.
“By and large, they became indistinguishable from the people they replaced.”
My natural pessimism leads me to think the same will happen this time. As Orwell wrote at the end of Animal Farm:
The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
The only way to remedy this is to shrink the importance and activity of the national government (both at home and abroad) because talent and money will always flow toward power. But, once in possession of power, only extraordinary men like George Washington or Cincinnatus are going to give it up. And while Congress may not be, as Twain wrote, America’s only “distinctively native American criminal class,” they’re not Washingtons either.