Hubbub and ho-hum

In Washington, controversial issues are amplified by the presence of a large contingent of media covering the stories. It's an arena in which the passion of the political participants is nearly equaled by their media counterparts.

When I'm inside the media "pack," I focus on the task to the exclusion of almost everything else. But sometimes I wrest myself from the scene to get a larger perspective. I was struck in this photograph (taken inside the Hart Senate Office Building) by the normalcy of life outside the swirl of the pack. Sen. Dianne Feinstein was in the vortex of the media as she gave her thoughts on then-Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. But on the floors above and below the hubbub, all is ho-hum as Senate staffers work and an impromptu meeting takes place.

I see the photograph as a metaphor for the relationship between the nation's capital and the rest of the country. There is always activity swirling in Washington - policy debates, scandal, political infighting - while the rest of the nation goes about its business.

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