The Magic President Will Save Us

Via Jonathan Chait, this collection of “If I Were President” essays from various smart people is the most risible thing I’ve seen in at least four hours. Let’s just focus on the things the smart people want the president to “require” from Congress, given that the president can’t require an equal branch of government to do any of this.

I would require members of Congress to participate in a weeklong workshop on dialogue, negotiation and compromise before the next session. All sessions would begin with 10 minutes of silence.

Immediately after August break, every member of the House and Senate would be required to move for two weeks, with family, to a town or small city in a country outside North America. (Those serving more than one term may only visit an English speaking country once and not on the first trip.)

Upon returning to work inside the Beltway, each senator and representative would be required to attend a three-day seminar given by former Senator Alan Simpson on The Integrity of the Deal. Those who fail the exam at the seminar’s conclusion will lose their seat/vote with no replacement forthcoming from a state appointment or run-off election.

Are these even useful as thought experiments? Have these people ever had to attend mandatory workshops before?