One of the first things I noticed when I moved to DC was that while there were a lot amazing progressives working in the city at various non-profits and think tanks, there weren’t a ton on Capitol Hill. Of course there are some amazing, heroic lefties on the Hill, but they’re definitely in the minority. The culture of the hill, particularly on the Democratic side, tends to be hostile to “ideologues.” This really struck me when I was at a party and a staffer for a Democratic senator derisively referred to Ted Kennedy as a “socialist.”
OpenLeft’s Matt Stoller called this the “rootsgap” in a smart post he put up on OpenLeft the other day. This culture really needs to change, and in order for it to change more movement progressives have to go work on the hill. It just so happens, Stoller’s doing exactly that, working as Senior Policy Advisor to freshman congressman Alan Grayson (FL-8).
The other day, Matt posted, under his own name, amazingly, some video of Grayson grilling the Fed’s Vice Chair. It gives you a sense of what Capitol Hill might look like if we could close this “rootsgap.”