When the Constitution was adopted back in 1787, each Congressional representative represented about 50,000 people. Washington thought that was too many, preferring that each representative should have about 35,000 constituents. Now each Congressional representative has a constituency of around 650,000.
In all but the smallest states each Senator today has a constituency larger than the 4 million that was the population of the entire country in 1790.
Even with the improvements in transportation and communications we have today that number is impossibly unmanageably large. Frankly, it’s undemocratic.
I’ve written here on several occasions that my preference would be to divide the states so that the size of the Senate was increased at least four-fold and increase the size of the House to, perhaps, ten times its present size.
Failing either of those two attempts at bringing our government closer to the people and to its original intent we need to harness every means at our disposal to making it easier for our elected representatives to communicate with their constituents. That includes blogs, email, and profuse exploitation of the many devices that the Internet provides including YouTube, podcasts, and social networking sites.
That’s what makes the rules proposed by the chair of the Congressional Commission on Mailing Standards so idiotic. We need our representatives to make a lot more official use of the Internet rather than less (hat tip: Mark Safranski). James Joyner has said most of the remainder of what I’d say on this subject. I don’t think this is a partisan issue. I think it’s simply a matter of adapting to the times.