Durbin - Rat Killer

Funny (ha-ha) story about Illinois' senior Senator, Dick Durbin and his fellow-residents in squalor. Brings back memories of being 19, doesn't it? Especially the refrigerator mostly full of beer (and probably left-over Chinese food).

AT HOME WITH GEORGE MILLER, RICHARD J. DURBIN, CHARLES E. SCHUMER AND BILL DELAHUNT; Taking Power, Sharing Cereal - New York Times : SOME of the most powerful Democrats in America are split over a most incendiary household issue: rodents.

''I once had to pick up a mouse by the tail that Durbin refused to pick up,'' complained Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, referring to his roommate Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois.

This characterization is not fair to Mr. Durbin, interjected another tenant in the Capitol Hill row house, Representative Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts. For starters, it overlooks Mr. Durbin's gift for killing rats. ''He will kill them with his bare hands,'' Mr. Delahunt marveled.

''Oh, will you stop with the rats,'' said the annoyed fourth roommate, Representative George Miller of California. He owns the house and is sensitive to any suggestion that he harbors pestilence. It's dicey enough that he harbors politicians.

Think MTV's ''Real World'' with a slovenly cast of Democratic power brokers. While Washington may have more than its share of crash pads for policy-debating workaholics, few, if any, have sheltered a quorum as powerful as this one. About a quarter-mile southeast of the Capitol, the inelegantly decorated two-bedroom house has become an unlikely center of influence in Washington's changing power grid. It is home to the second- and third-ranking senators in the new Democratic majority (Mr. Durbin, the majority whip, and Mr. Schumer, the vice chairman of the Democratic caucus) and the chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee (Mr. Miller).

The four men were once host to a fund-raiser for Senator Barbara Boxer of California at their divey dwelling, raising $80,000. Given the prevailing attire in the place on many nights, guests were given pairs of custom-made ''Barbara Boxer shorts.''

As a general rule, the abode is hardly fit for entertaining, or even for a health inspector. It is used for convenience: sleeping, ditching stuff, and fast-food consumption -- the kinds of functions prized by vagabond politicians whose families are back in their home states and who generally spend only their working weekdays here.

''Everybody in the world says they're going to do a television series based on us,'' said Mr. Durbin, who was collapsed on the couch on a recent Monday night. Still in a tie, he sipped ice water from a massive Chicago Cubs cup while waiting for the Chinese food to arrive.

''But then they realize that the story of four middle-aged men, with no sex and violence, is not going to last two weeks,'' he said. The prevailing topics of their discussions are grandchildren and Metamucil, he added.

''Hey, speak for yourself, Durbin,'' Mr. Delahunt said, protesting the claim of no sex and violence.

''There is a lot of violence in here,'' Mr. Schumer said.

In fact, the roommates have never resorted to violence, at least with one another. (Crickets are another story.) Their weapons are verbal, and often aimed at Mr. Schumer, who admits to a serious dereliction of roommate duties, like grocery shopping. He is also prone to a blatant disregard for conserving a most precious household resource, cereal.

''I love cereal,'' Mr. Schumer said, digging into his second bowl of granola, going a long way toward depleting a box that Mr. Miller had just purchased.

The night of the national championship football game between the University of Florida and Ohio State, Jan. 8, was a rare instance of the four roommates being home and awake at the same time. It had not happened since the election in November, and the neighborhood has changed considerably since then. Several Republicans on the block lost their race or left Congress (the latter category includes the disgraced Representative Mark Foley, who lived down the street).

Mr. Miller charges rent of $750 a month, which Mr. Durbin pays by direct deposit and Mr. Schumer's wife pays by sending Mr. Miller six checks twice a year. Mr. Schumer says his wardrobe at the apartment consists of boxers and suits, nothing in between.

Women rarely set foot in the place, excluding the Haitian cleaning lady who comes every week and who everyone promises is a legal immigrant. The common bathroom upstairs is stocked with supersize bottles of Listerine, CVS cocoa butter, Suave shampoo (with dandruff control) and a hair dryer.

Little thought is given to entertainment besides the big-screen television that Mr. Durbin recently purchased against the wishes of Mr. Schumer and Mr. Delahunt, who liked the old one. The refrigerator is mostly empty save for apples, grapes and about two dozen bottles of beer.

Once, Mr. Miller's son shot a deer and presented the house with an abundant supply of venison. It remained in the freezer for 12 years, at which point it was deemed to have reached its term limit and was discarded.

''Whatever happened to that venison?'' Mr. Schumer wondered.

''I think it just got up and walked away,'' Mr. Delahunt said.

The roommates then repaired to couches to watch Florida-Ohio State and to stuff their faces with Sichuan beef and kung pao chicken. Mr. Durbin began talking about meetings he had last month with the presidents of Bolivia and Ecuador on a Congressional delegation to Latin America. Then he and Mr. Schumer started arguing about Mr. Schumer's refusal to make his bed.

(h/t - Gapers Block)

Technorati Tags:

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on February 3, 2007 12:30 PM.

Chicago Auto show was the previous entry in this blog.

pay-for-results is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37