A modest proposal

A political shakeup is occurring in my neck of the woods. Our congressman, leftist Chris Van Hollen, is running for the Maryland Senate seat that Barbara Mikulski will vacate. He’s opposed by radical leftist Donna Edwards.

Rep. Edwards, an African-American, has a reputation for poor constituent services. Her predecessor Albert Wynn was no star in this department. My daughter, who interned for Rep. Connie Morella, tells me that Wynn’s constituents used to seek assistance from Connie. Reputedly, Edwards is worse than Wynn in this department.

With Van Hollen attempting to move on up, our congressional seat becomes vacant. The two leading contenders are thought to be Chris Matthews’ wife Kathleen, a former local news anchor, and Jamie Raskin, a lefty law professor.

There is also David Trone, the owner of Total Wine & More, who is using his fortune to finance his run. I know nothing about Trone’s politics, but considering the opposition, I’ll be rooting for the wine merchant on the Democratic side. (Our district is reliably Dem.)

With the possible exception of Trone, I’d be embarrassed to have any of these people represent me in Congress. The government would have to be on the verge of setting fire to my house before I’d be inclined to ask Donna Edwards or Chris Matthews’ wife for help.

Which brings me to my modest proposal. Why not allow people to opt out of representation by their Senator or Representative? Why not allow them, for a fee, to be represented by someone else?

You can pay extra to send your kids to an out-of-state public university. Shouldn’t you be able to pay extra for out-of-state congressional representation?

The wealthy already have this option, effectively. They can make large contributions to politicians all over the country and then seek (and, within reason, expect to obtain) their help.

Few can afford to make hefty contributions, however. Thus, I modestly propose that by paying, say, $100 a year, a family be allowed to come under the representation of the Senator or Congressman of its choice. For Senators, one could choose to pay just $500 for a full term. There should also be a discount for seniors.

It would be a bargain for me to pay no more than $200 a year to be represented by Tom Cotton in the Senate and Mia Love in the House. My senior discount would make this all the more attractive.

If this proposal seems too radical, geographic limitations could be placed on the opt-in. It could be limited, for example, to Senators and Congressmen from neighboring states. For now, this would enable me to select Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Alex Mooney.

As a conservative, I generally don’t like to disturb time-honored rules of governance. But it’s common knowledge that the nation has gradually chosen sides along geographic lines (Red States, Blue States, and all that). Shouldn’t those of us stranded behind enemy lines, so to speak, get some relief?