Politics: Upstairs at the Downstairs

The Republican draws up his chair to a gleaming cherry wood desk upstairs. Thick maroon carpeting cushions his steps, velvet window draperies smother uncouth sounds, gold leaf gilds the ceiling, a $50,000 painting graces the anteroom. His receptionist answers the phone, saying "Governor Andersen's office." But it does not make the Republican feel any better.

The Democrat draws up his chair to a dented steel desk in the basement. The floor is without so much as a scatter rug, the single window has no curtain, steam pipes clutter the walls, a radiator hisses sometimes. His receptionist answers the phone, saying "Governor...

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