A very interesting question as I have a very lean outlook on what government is necessary to actually run the Nation. These days, being mid-DEC 2009, Senator Coburn and Senator DeMint are starting to speak of the basic things that need to be done by elected representatives, and yet their concept of having one bill and its proposed amendments read out loud, in their entirety, is just a kernel of an idea. That idea needs to be expanded upon and greatly, so that Americans get small, compact and easy to understand legislation that makes passage of politically corrupting measures nearly impossible. Thus the type of candidate will back that, thoroughly.
This candidate could be from either major party, any minor party or purely an independent individual wanting to do a hard job in the House or Senate. Or, more correctly, actually do their job in the House or Senate and not pass it off to staffers. A candidate of this sort will not be liked by any stripe of progressive, who adores Big Government, and that includes a large swath of members in both major political parties. And because of that reaction the type of candidate becomes apparent:
The PITA Candidate
PITA = Pain In The Ass
What typifies a PITA Candidate is the willingness to use parliamentary procedures fully, completely and in accordance with every rule in either the House or Senate. Those who have ever heard of a 'By The Book Strike' in which public employees follow every rule in the book to slow down their work knows exactly how this goes. Luckily, as each State has representation for the House and Senate, denying the seating of a PITA Candidate-elect because of their stance is a good ground for the State to declare that the State is not being represented properly, in accordance to the wishes of its people, and that all Representatives and Senators are recalled, the assent of the State to perform services for the federal government suspended and that all federal taxation laws are also suspended for the State.
I would imagine this working well in TX or OK or MT, but the financial straights of CA and NY would then make the idea of being able to garnish the federal portion of taxation for the State for 'safekeeping' when the federal government wises-up can't be denied. Thus the State involved might want some intestinal fortitude, or else it would have a PITA Candidate pointing out how the State does NOT support that Candidate's District or State to have proper representation in the federal government, which is something we fought a Revolution over.
So lets say the House or Senate is wise enough not to do this. Denying a seat to a Representative who fully wishes to follow the Constitution and all the rules of the House/Senate is NOT grounds not to seat such an individual. With a certified election, avowal to hew strictly and completely to the rules, and otherwise follow all proper and necessary procedures in either chamber, there would be no grounds, at all, for not seating such a member. If a comedian can get a seat in the Senate, then a PITA should be able to do so, also, and even act with more civil manners.
What does a PITA do in the House or Senate?
Never sustaining a 'unanimous consent request' for ANYTHING.
Anything to be 'read into the record' gets read, out loud, into the record.
This also goes for the request to later amend and revise remarks, on the grounds that this allows too much into the public record that is not openly presented for the people of the Nation to see and that ALL such documentation worthy of being in the record needs to be publicly proclaimed. Whenever a member wishes to revise/extend remarks, they must do so in the chamber, orally, in front of the public. Of course this can be over-ridden with a vote, and the moment that unanimous consent for a voice vote is heard then that, too, is objected to.
All votes for all matters, no matter how procedural, get a real, live, actual, tabulated vote.
Do you see how this is going? It hasn't even gotten to the introduction of Bills, yet, but just daily procedures. Like putting the previous day's minutes into the record. The public really does need to hear those things.
Yes there will be attempts to change the rules, but that is also done with the citation of precedent and that doing so to get around one member is discrimination against a member who was elected to DO exactly what is being DONE, and he is DOING IT as he promised. Faced with that the house in question either swallows its pride and sticks with history, or chucks out history and goes authoritarian... thus endangering the right of ANY MEMBER to be heard.
Pretty nasty thing to do, that, just to try and get around a PITA.
Very uncivil. And very, very obvious.
As a PITA Candidate is there to uphold Constitutional government, that means exposing all pay-offs that other politicians pack into bills. Have all that read into the record. Point out that 'off budget' deals don't have Congressional backing in the budget and, thusly, cannot get funds allotted to them. Either things are on the budget or they get passed as separate entities. A PITA Candidate puts forth that while taking care of pigs is all fine and dandy, the farm is Kosher.
Bills to fund Constitutionally mandated parts of government, such as DoD, DoJ, State Dept, Treasury... all of those with direct mention will get your 'AYE' vote when they are pork free. Anything else gets a 'NAY' vote.
Wartime funding? If it needs pork it can't be critical, and if it isn't critical to the warfighter then it needs to be funded elsewhere. And if it is critical then point out that until offending pork is removed Congress allows the President to have the troops forage, and suggest terrorist bases no matter where they are for food, fuel, and other necessary goods. Perhaps the Dept. of Agriculture could be raided for a few dollars. Or Education since they haven't managed to improve the reading rate since Poor Johnny Couldn't Read.
In fact the PITA Candidate has a 'NAY' vote in store for Agriculture, Education, Energy, HHS, and quite a few other things never even whispered about in the Constitution.
How does this 'help' the people back home? The PITA Candidate is trying to stop up government so that it can't expand and take over more of people's spending money to finance the deficit and the debt.
Are there anything proactive that a PITA can do? Sure! First the PITA has no paid for staff and won't accept money for same. But if the PITA needs something positive to do, then helping Ron Paul to get his Audit The Federal Reserve Bill going someplace would be a great thing to do. Perhaps work on Privateering legislation to get a few folks monetarily interested in taking down al Qaeda and whatnot. Kibbitzing on Social Security and Medicare and their insolvency status would be a lot of fun! And how all the fine folks Upon The Hill can't seem to address the coming bankruptcy of the Federal Government. Yes, a PITA can get loads of fun pointing out the incompetency engendered by the politically over-elected and the financially under-educated Upon The Hill.
Beyond that take up a fine hobby!
Cross-word puzzles. Everyone should have a fine vocabulary, use this as a chance to build it.
Ghost hunting, as there are a lot of dead bills through the decades and more than one of them must have left a ghost behind and you can be the one to capture them. Hold EVP sessions in the chamber after hours, not that there will be many of those with all the reading of bills going on. And some very fast flash photography around the Capitol is sure to find the errant ghost or Congresscritter giving you the evil eye.
Find spelling and syntax errors in bills and amendments. When they are fully read in, ask for the corrected version to be read in. Remember a badly worded bill is a threat to liberty and you are there to stop that. This is a fun and exciting past-time.
Put out press releases on each and every day Congress takes off. Keep a running tally. Also how many hours Congress is at work during the days it is in session. Compare your term with those of past Congresses and show how much more work is being done! You are doing the public a favor by keeping the place open for business. Take credit for all those hours more that Congress has to work on doing its job. Because that IS your job, too. Everyone could use good press because that of a PITA will be abysmal, yet you can point to this as a POSITIVE accomplishment that NO other Congresscritter has ever achieved!
If you are a reader, now is a good time to start Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, unabridged edition. Or de Vattel's Law of Nations. The works of Grotius, perhaps? Actually Law of Nations might give you some hints and pointers on how to be more of a PITA, so I would put that first, then Grotius, then Decline as you can check to see if the US can go faster than you can read the book.
The job might look cushy, but those long, long, long hours running into days, weeks and months which has the Capitol open on a constant basis and Congresscritters tied down to it is actually very hard. It is not a position for a slacker, but for someone who knows how to put up the greatest amount of civility while ensuring that every rule, condition and voting opportunity is followed COMPLETELY and UTTERLY without remorse. No liberal or conservative could do it as they all get this urge to 'do something' and then think they can 'make the country better' by spending scads of cash that isn't theirs to spend. If any of those COULD have done it then it WOULD HAVE BEEN DONE BY NOW. A PITA Candidate will be hated if elected, indeed despised, yet the quiet demeanor of a librarian would be all that was needed.
Plus a copy of Roberts Rules of Order along with the special rules for the chamber involved.
Yes, I would vote for a PITA Candidate and contribute to them. I don't have the health to do something like this... but it is a job crying out to be done: running as the Immodium-D of Congress. A dirty job... and Mike Rowe does have his limits.