I haven’t dropped the whole bicameralism thing–that will be a longer post for a non-travel day and a non-sleep-deprived blogger–but in the meantime, and on a related note, I wanted to highlight an interesting idea from Conor Friedersdorf (via a post of his at TAS).
The idea is this: Instead of having all the members of Congress split time between living in their home districts and in the Beltway, the United States government should have all of them connected by a computer network, so that they can debate legislation and vote without ever leaving their districts. This is supposed to make them more responsive to their constituents and limit the corrosive influence of Beltway culture and the close proximity of industry lobbyists.
One thing I like about this idea: Friedersdorf wisely stays away from discussing the technical aspects of a system like this, but it could conceivably result in a lot more House and Senate business being conducted via the written word instead of through actual public speaking. And if floor debates were to look more like an exchange of blog posts than of prepared statements read aloud, that limits the opportunities for grandstanding, creative use of props, and other theatrics. If the ideas of our elected officials were required to stand on their own, without the help of visual aids, then maybe they would start to look more like actual, um, ideas.