Iron Reps: A Sorry Statement on Congressional Dysfunction


Posted by Bob Lord

Let's be perfectly clear: This post is not in any way a knock on Kyrsten Sinema for having completed an Iron Man triathlon. If you read it that way, you're misreading it. I have trouble with many of the votes Kyrsten has cast, but I totally applaud her completion of the Iron Man. It's an awesome accomplishment, I milestone I wish I had achieved myslef, but never did.

How do I know it's an awesome accomplishment? Because I actually completed a half Iron Man myself, a quarter century ago. To do that, I spent months putting in three hours or so a day training. A full Iron Man doesn't require twice that much time, but it's awfully close. It requires incredible dedication.

Which, when you think about it, tells us how broken our Congress really is. If the House were working remotely as it should, the job duties of a Rep would be far too demanding to allow the time needed to train for an Iron Man on the side. Kyrsten sits on the House Financial Services Committee, the one responsible for banking legislation. It's time consuming work, both in committee and out. Unless of course you're not legislating.

In terms of workload, Kyrsten, a freshman, largely played the hand she was dealt. It would have made no sense for her to immerse herself in banking law, when she's serving on a do nothing committee in a do nothing Congress. Her constituent service work largely is delegated to staff, as it should be. So she took advantage of the time dividend to reach a level of fitness few of us will ever approach. Good on her. 

In a functioning House, my guess is that Kyrsten would not have reached her Iron Man goal. Could she have? Yes, but only by attending meetings less than fully prepared, not making a meaningful contribution to the legislative process and casting uninformed votes. I doubt it's in her DNA to perform at such a level. 

A generation ago, things were different. Dan Quayle as a Senator spent hours each day in the gym, often appearing at meetings with wet hair. He was not lauded for his fitness. Instead, he was ridiculed for being an empty suit.

Even a decade ago, we laughed at George W for his workout habits, and his insistence on being in bed by 10.

But in a dysfunctional government, there's leisure time aplenty. Even enough to train for an Iron Man. So much so, that the priorities of a Rep who does so should not even be questioned.  


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