Monday, May 17, 2010
You haven't heard much about Andy Goss, one of the four Republicans seeking to unseat Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords this November in Southern Arizona's Congressional District 8.
But Goss is Exhibit A in a recent Wall Street Journal piece about insurgent—and angry—candidates for office in 2010:
Andy Goss knows exactly what he'll do if he wins his long-shot race for Congress. First, he'll cut lawmakers' pay 40% to $104,400. Then the former Army interrogator will use the savings to build a Capitol Hill barracks where all 535 senators and representatives will be required to live.
"If our military has to live in such a fashion, I think we congressmen should also," says Mr. Goss, one of four men seeking the Republican nomination in southeastern Arizona.
This year is shaping up to be an excellent time to run for Congress by running against Congress.
The legislative branch is one of the least popular institutions in the U.S. The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted in May finds that 72% of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. An earlier poll revealed that, if such an option existed, half of those surveyed would gladly check a box on a ballot replacing every member of Congress at once. GOP Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah and Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia—both Capitol Hill veterans—have already lost
their primary races, and more incumbents could fall next week.
This spasm of anti-incumbent sentiment provides an opening for novice politicians who see a rare chance to storm the halls of power. They're not just angry about what Congress does, but also about how Congress does it. So Tea Partiers, Republicans, Socialists, independents and other congressional hopefuls are taking to the stump to propose radical measures to constrain the very institution they're angling to join.
The 40-year-old Mr. Goss, who left the Army a sergeant, says his proposed congressional pay cut isn't the product of "exact science." Mr. Goss came up with the figure one day while fuming about Congress with some buddies in Iraq. Barracks life, he believes, would give lawmakers a lesson in humility and service.