“Commoners” Riding On The Elevator With Senators? Well, I Never!

It’s seems that the sweaty hoi polloi visiting the Capitol have gone too far: now they’re even using the same elevators as members of Congress! The New York Times has the latest on this appalling development:

In addition to lofty issues of war and peace, the Senate is grappling with another urgent matter: the senators-only elevators at the Capitol are being overrun by the unelected.

…The crowding extends to the elevators, one of the few sanctuaries available to beleaguered lawmakers as they try to navigate between the Senate chamber, various hearing rooms and offices in the Capitol.

…Add the elevator problem to the litany of senatorial hardships, somewhere between flying coach and the high costs of barbering.

At times, senators even find themselves on public elevators, an ordeal fraught with the possibility of having to push their own buttons (the senators-only elevators usually have attendants).

Worse, senators sometimes share their moving sanctums with staff members, lobbyists and T-shirt-clad tourists who apparently missed (or ignored or cannot read) the senators-only signs.

…“There’s all kinds of lore associated with the Senate elevators,” said Charlie Cook, a Senate elevator operator during his college days at Georgetown and now the editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report, an independent newsletter.

Mr. Cook mentioned one episode, which he attributed to “accepted lore” but did not witness: Senator John Tower, Republican of Texas, was said to throw a volcanic tantrum when an elevator operator did not recognize him and failed to heed his request to take him directly to the basement.

“Hold onto your hat, cowboy,” the attendant is reputed to have told Mr. Tower, who was wearing cowboy boots. “I’ve got a senator I’ve got to pick up.”

Can you just imagine Ted Kennedy having to stand there on the elevator, next to a farmer from West Virginia who’s looking at old Teddy like he’s something that he just scraped off of his shoe? Oooh…oooh, then the farmer says, in his Southern drawl, “Leaving that girl there to die, that was wrong,” and Kennedy’s face scrunches up, he just can’t stand it, but he doesn’t say anything back and just looks down at the floor in shame.

That’s a beautiful little dream…

PS: A little message for the people up on the Hill: We pay your salaries. That means we’re your bosses, not vice-versa. If you need more elevators, build them. But, if you can’t handle standing next to a taxpayer for an elevator ride, you’re in the wrong job.

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