By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
Nebraska Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ben Sasse wants to the move the nation’s Capitol to his home state, though he hasn’t picked a capital city.
It’s a spoof, of course, but a well-produced spoof that is catching the attention of the Internet crowd.
Casting himself as a Washington, D.C., outsider not beholden to insider political pressure, Sasse suggests in the 5-minute video moving the Capitol — the actual building — using what appears to be a super-sized big rig and trailer. Doing that, he says, would insulate lawmakers from the specials interests and powerful lobbyists inside the Beltway while giving the political class a taste of the Cornhusker State’s conservative values.
“That’s it, the way to cure the incredible ineffectiveness and dysfunction of both parties in Washington — we move the Capitol to Nebraska,” the GOP candidate said.
Sounds a bit like the old theme song from Rawhide, Clint Eastwood‘s 1960s-era cowboy romp: “Move ‘em on, hit ‘em up, hit ‘em up, move ‘em on.”
Sasse told the Washington Times that the move is highly ultimately unrealistic and unlikely, but that he wanted to spark a conversation about special interests and influence-peddling in the Beltway.
But is the idea practical? Other governments have moved their capitals, so the idea isn’t out of the scope of possibility.
Surely Sasse’s “conservative values” likely would prevent him from actually pushing such a plan. To bring the entire federal government to Nebraska would cost many billions, if not trillions, of dollars — money that otherwise could be spent paying down the national debt or paying for legitimate and proper forms of government.
Why will the federal government remain in Washington, D.C.? Besides the logistical nightmare the move represents for a government so inept that it cannot effectively build a health-care insurance website, lawmakers never could decide where to plant the Capitol building.
The battle for big prize (think a penultimate battle for Boeing and its billions in production contracts) would be historic. Fiscal cliff? Small potatoes. Federal shutdown of 2013? Weak sauce. Debt limit fights? More like pillow fights.
The tussle might even make the Hunger Games look like child’s play. Katniss Everdeen, meet Democrat U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida. Yikes.
Thanks to a gargantuan government, Washington is home to extravagance and great wealth. Just last year, the Washington Post reported that seven of the 10 most affluent counties in the country are in the D.C. region.
The city of Washington, D.C.,that has grown with government holds recession-proof status. In 2010, CBS listed D.C. as one of the nation’s 21 cities guarded against economic downturns.
And who wouldn’t want a piece of that after the recession ripped through the country a few years back, slicing massive holes in state and local government budgets.
Some pundits say Sasse’s plan has at least some merit.
Philip Bump, an author of The Wire, offered a handful of reasons why the nation’s capital should move to the Cornhusker State, notably protection from rising sea levels caused by global warming, better central planning for the capital city and the stimulus.
Unfortunately for Sasse, who envisions a special-interest free Nebraska capital, Bump points out that the new city, too, would attract lobbyists and influence-peddlers.
“All of the lobbying firms and contractors that now operate from Northern Virginia would move, headed to the plains of Nebraska,” Bump wrote.
Well, darn. There goes that plan.
Contact Dustin Hurst at Dustin@watchdog.org