WASHINGTON — In the whirlwind chaos of a congressional career, many things fall by the wayside--among them keeping up with old friends who don't care if there's a "Rep." or a 'Sen." in front of your name.
"You want to be able to have dinner with them, invite them over to your house. But you have about a dozen nights all year free," said Rep. Tom Tauke (R-Iowa). "It sounds so arrogant to say: 'Well, I have this one night in August--you can't do it? What about December?' "
Some congressmen are reconciled to a life of work and family. "You trade things off," said Rep. Michael DeWine (R-Ohio). "You understand you're not going to have much of a social life. I don't miss it."
Forming an Extended Family
One alternative is to cultivate congressional friends, an approach that is working well for four representatives who share a group house on Capitol Hill. The close-knit living group amounts to an extended family that serves as a social club, relief valve and debating society.