Senator Phil E. Buster wakes bright and early at 4:00AM. As a sitting United States legislator, he wields enormous power in his day-to-day life. But looking at his day's itinerary, the good Senator feels powerless over the intense schedule that'll dominate his every moment from now until he lays his head back down to sleep.
At precisely 6:35AM, Senator Buster's Chief of Staff arrives in the government-funded chauffeured car that'll cart the Senator around all day. As he kisses his wife goodbye, the day's itinerary starts in earnest.
7:00AM—The Senator arrives at the Hometown Small Business Association meeting to discuss small businesses in people's hometowns. This breakfast meeting is his first chance to have coffee and a bite to eat, which he enjoys after giving a three-minute speech about how great hometowns and small businesses are. The needs of his constituency are pretty straightforward here, and as long as they keep feeding him, he'll keep calling them great.
7:45AM—On the drive to his office at the Capitol, he makes a phone call in to MSNBC's Morning Joe to discuss a bill that has some national recognition. When he accidentally says spooning instead of spending, Joe and Mika have a good laugh.
8:00AM—Senator Buster arrives at his office just in time for today's general staff meeting. It's the normal review of the day's important points, after which the Senator retreats to his office to deal with personal correspondence letters, notes, and fan mail.
Well, most of it is actually hate mail, but the Senator likes to pretend it's a loving kind of hate. Or something.
9:00AM—It's time to meet the public. Senator Buster greets visitors and shakes hands in the lobby, then has meetings with more home state voters. With all this power in his hands, it's important for him to listen to the constituents whose votes he must win. Of course, since he's not facing re-election for another four years, he can play it a little looser with his promises.
10:30AM—The Senator heads down to one of the conference rooms for today's Veteran's Affairs Committee hearings. He listens intently, asking questions when he feels like it, watching closely when he doesn't, and scribbling little doodles when no one's talking.
11:30AM—Hearing adjourned, it's time for Senator Buster's favorite itinerary item: lunch. Whether to get the penne pasta or a BLT is probably his hardest decision of the day.
12:00PM—The U.S. Senate session opens. Senator Buster sits at his assigned seat in the Senate Chamber for the next few hours, listening to and mostly ignoring the speeches of his colleagues. Occasionally he agrees, so he stands and claps. Most of the time though, he's just playing Gears of War on his cell phone.
4:30PM—After a quick stop by the office for a bathroom break and a phone call to the missus (she's fine, thanks), it's time for a fundraiser reception in a conference room downtown. These are the people who keep Senator Buster's campaign alive, and as such this is probably the most important meeting of the day.
That doesn't prevent the Senator from having an extra shrimp cocktail, or two. Free and tasty food, almost all the time, really is quite a perk.
5:40PM—It's time for his C-SPAN interview about today's session and this evening's vote on the bill. Senator Buster gives his memorized talking points and even improvises a little—he lets out an off-the-cuff remark that gets a good laugh and makes a hard-hitting political point. It's actually so good he later kicks himself for wasting it on C-SPAN.
6:30PM—The Senate's back in session for floor debates and the final vote. This is Senator Buster's second favorite part of the day. He loves voting on bills (especially those that don't harm him with voters at home), and since today's bill is about giving EMTs an official shout-out, he has no problem casting this one. It passes ninety-nine to one.
Yup, a whole day of Congress was dedicated to saying—nay, declaring—that paramedics perform their jobs quite well, generally speaking. Well, ninety-nine people declared it; apparently one person has a problem with EMTs, for some reason. In any case, good work everyone.
9:00PM—The day's not over yet; there's still the reception appearance Senator Buster needs to make at the Chinese Embassy. Not only does the Senator have to work hard negotiating with his fellow citizens, he also has to deal with people from around the world. Thankfully his wife can come to this one, and he lets her do most of the talking.
Finally, around 11:30PM, the Senator's snug as a bug in a rug in his four-post bed. After a day of making decisions and telling people what he thinks, he's just happy to be back where he actually gets what he wants—as long as Mrs. Buster says it's okay. It's the strange inside-out life of a U.S. Senator.