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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that as the US Congress changes hands from the Republicans to the Democrats, one of the central concerns is who will provide the candy that gets the Senators through tough nights and days of legislating.

The problem is that the “candy desk,” located conveniently near a door to the Senate floor, has for the last decade been occupied by Rick Santorum, the former GOP senator from Pennsylvania, who was able to stock it with treats provided by his home state’s candy manufacturers and stay within Senate rules.

But Santorum was defeated last November, and the desk has been turned over to Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyoming), who comes from a state that the Journal describes as “better known for bison than bonbons.” Thomas isn’t allowed to accept candy from out-of-state manufacturers because “ethics rules forbid members accepting gifts worth $100 or more a year from a single source. One exception covers items produced in a senator's home state -- so long as they're used primarily by people other than the senator or his staff. The provision was crafted to allow senators to offer visitors home-grown snacks, such as Florida orange juice or Georgia peanuts.”

Sen. Arlen Specter, who also hails from Pennsylvania, has a seat near the front of the room and therefore isn’t an appropriate keeper of the candy desk. And Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who defeated Santorum, can’t do it because apparently the candy desk has always been the province of the GOP.
KC's View:
We’re not sure what we find more distressing – that senators don’t have to buy their own candy, or that the Journal devoted a thousand words to this serious problem of state.

Actually, the Journal story does serve a serious purpose – it makes us more convinced than ever that most legislators ought to be forced to live life on the same terms that the rest of us do – buying their own groceries, waiting on the same airport lines, taking the same subways, and dealing with the everyday issues that afflict and perplex so many Americans.

How can any of these guys represent us when they don’t even live on the same planet?