I don’t know anybody who likes a hypocrite. I know I don’t. They say shame on you and then do exactly the thing they shamed about. No wonder this Congress’ popularity is sinking so, so low.

Remember the shame the CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler which at the time were public companies were exposed to as they flew to Washington to ask for bailout money in the fall of 2008? Remember how vociferously they were attacked and roasted for daring to appear before Congress after flying their corporate jets to Washington? Forget the security and productivity advantages. It was the image of the thing, or so our congressional leaders said.

You’ve got to watch what you roast.

It seems that what goes around comes around. The latest thing is particularly sad since Congress wants to tax carbon use and drive the cost of travel and energy through the roof. The Wall Street Journal reported that because of an increase in congressional travel, the Air Force will have to spend $550 million to purchase new planes (sub. required) and expand the fleet available for congressional delegations. Of course, they’ll also have to spend another $100 million a year or so running them and maintaining the fleet. What a waste.

Hey Nancy (Pelosi), hey Harry (Reid) why not be the leaders of change you claim to be and cancel the aircraft and go for a telepresence investment?

For that kind of money, Congress could have doubled the telepresence market and installed a telepresence suite – a room in a room – in the congressman’s and senator’s office in DC and four other offices in their district. Now, we’re not talking about little web cameras on PCs. We’re talking about the full-blown, high end Cisco TelePresence 3000 or the TANDBERG T3 rooms or the Polycom RPX suites. No doubt purchasing 2,675 systems would generate a significant price break (5 x (435 congressmen + 100 senators)), so maybe it wouldn’t actually cost that much and congressmen wouldn’t have to waste so much time traveling from their nearest Air Force base to Washington DC. Who knows, they might actually read the legislation that lies before them?

Of course, if Congress did take a step down, and go for the more personal Cisco TelePresence 1000 or the TANDBERG T1 executive platforms, $550 million would also allow them to deploy a system in every public university and community college in America too. $100 million a year buys an awful lot of bandwidth in this country instead of giving it to foreign governments that don’t like us in exchange for their oil.

UPDATE: August 12, 2009 – It only took a few days, but the Congressional leaders that were pushing for more planes than the Pentagon (who operate and maintain the aircraft) had initially requested, had backed down. See what power the people really have? Now what can we do about the Obama-care debacle, or the Carbon Tax thing… 😉

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