Posting here has been light in the past week because of a trip to Washington, D.C., where I was part of the delegation for our Association’s annual federal lobbying trip. Nearly all of the hard work for this trip comes from our Governmental Relations office, but it ends up being a grueling week even for those of us who are just “hangers-on,” so to speak. Meetings typically last from 9 a.m. through the late afternoon, with a “debriefing” on top of that. So there isn’t a lot of time to really explore the surroundings, beyond quick glimpses of little slices of history here and there.
It’s hard not to be inspired by the surroundings, even given my cynical attitude towards what passes for political dialogue in this country. The headline story from the trip was that it’s unlikely much of substance will happen in Congress during this presidential election year, which in the end may be a good thing. Thanks to Special Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs Bill Behrens, the highlight of the business end of the trip was an impromptu tour of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, after our meeting with him. Mr. Behrens was nice enough to provide us with some historical background on the building, and showed us the office used by President Nixon as a “hideaway” office (the same office had also been used by V.P. Humphrey), and the Indian Treaty Room. He also took us out on the balcony overlooking the West Wing of the White House, where some in our group were able to catch a glimpse of V.P. Cheney, who had just arrived via limousine.
Of course, there was also time for some interesting dinners. This year marked my third visit to Georgetown’s Ristorante Filomena, which apparently was one of President Clinton’s favorite restaurants. I can see why; the food is great, and the portions are gargantuan. I had the Penne Con Salsicce, which according to the menu is Bono’s favorite dish. Also according to the menu, Bono asked for seconds, which I find hard to believe. The other restaurant highlight was my first visit to Martin’s Tavern, another Georgetown staple, which has served every President since Harry S. Truman, and as legend has it, was where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie. Great atmosphere, even with the rock-hard booths, and great food.
Overall, the trip reminded me how lucky I am to be working where I am, and how lucky I am to have such wonderful colleagues. But in the end, it’s good to be home.