John's Notebook: Stay Home, Congress

Last Updated Aug 6, 2017 11:49 AM EDT

Summer vacation has hit Washington. Politicians getting out of town have to be careful though, not to look like they're enjoying themselves too much. The White House, which treats the president's golf outings like a state secret, wouldn't say what the president did yesterday, but thanks to social media, we found out soon enough. The President took a break from golfing to tweet out that his 17 days out of Washington are not a vacation. This is one instance where the President parts ways with Vladimir Putin. The Russian president this week was baring his chest, engaging in lionhearted struggles with fish and generally manspreading across Siberia.

Congress is gone until after Labor Day. They had promised to stay until they passed health care legislation, but left when they failed. Some might be outraged: Why should Congress get a month off when they don't do their work?

Maybe that's backwards. An old theory holds that air conditioning ruined Congress. Members no longer had to flee the Washington heat to spend the summer back home. The long vacation forced them to bond with their constituents. That's harder to do now because it's harder to hear constituents through all the manufactured outrage fed by partisan pundits, fundraising built on alarming people and apocalyptic social media. The bubble now travels back home with members.

But if Congress stayed home longer, members might have time to run into the people who aren't permanently aggrieved. The silent majority who simply want results, are fine with honest compromise and would like to stop being made anxious by the partisan-outrage-complex.

So Congress should stay home as long as it takes….to get fortified with that spirit of public service that sent many of them to Washington in the first place. Once they return, it'll help them fight the heat.

Back in a moment.