Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., greets supports at a gathering on election night in Indianapolis, Tuesday, May 4, 2010. Burton, Indiana's current longest-serving congressman, faces six challengers in the Republican primary in Indiana's 5th Congressional district. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (AP)

Dan Burton explains why Congress must hide in a literal bubble

One representative's plan to save our nation from a very real and not at all silly threat

Alex Pareene
January 26, 2011 1:25AM (UTC)

Rep. Dan Burton has a compelling solution to a completely nonexistent problem, and that solution is encasing the entire floor of the House of Representatives in bulletproof glass, like an urban liquor store, or a futuristic prison where aliens put humans on display. "While we must not raise a wall between Members of Congress and their constituents," he writes at Human Events today, we must literally raise an actual, physical wall between members of Congress and their constituents. What problem is this designed to address, you ask? Allow Rep. Burton to paint you a word-picture:

Picture the scene: A team of terrorists – perhaps foreign-born, perhaps radicalized Americans – visit the United States Capitol and take seats in the gallery. One of them under his clothing wears a plastic bomb undetected by metal detectors. They sit there patiently watching the debate until a vote is called and all 435 Members of the House are on the Floor. Several of the terrorists create a disturbance to distract the Capitol Police.

While the Capitol Police are distracted dealing with the protesters, the terrorist wearing the bomb either throws the bomb or throws him or herself from the gallery onto the House Floor, exploding into martyrdom.

Scary! Oh, wait, what if the terrorists also have like some sort of sonic noise machine that makes everyone temporarily deaf and they throw a smoke bomb and then the one who jumps onto the floor has a hang glider! That would make it even cooler more serious.


Of course, enclosing the House floor in plexiglass may protect our representatives from plastic explosives-wielding gallery jumpers, but what if terrorists get a submarine and pilot it into the Tidal Basin and launch a torpedo to blow open the D.C. Metro tunnels and they reach the House floor by digging up? Or what if they get a bunch of motorcycle gang members to distract the Capitol Police by popping wheelies in the rotunda but meanwhile one of the Capitol Police members is a sleeper agent and he breaks into the cloakroom and poisons everyone's after-vote cocktail? What is Dan Burton doing to prevent either of those practically inevitable scenarios from coming to pass? Please write his office and ask.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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