Jamie Dupree – WSB Radio

Official Washington Downshifts

Just like most of the places where you work, things in the Political World are slowly grinding to a halt, as the Holidays take over.

Over the weekend, President Elect Barack Obama and his family jetted to Hawaii to get a last bit of relaxation before moving to Washington, D.C. for at least the next four years.

They are staying at a multi-million dollar oceanfront home on Oahu, basically on the other side of Diamond Head from Waikiki, if you’ve ever been there before.

While the Obamas take some down time, so too will the outgoing First Family, as they will spend their final Christmas at Camp David this week and then later take a few days at their ranch in Texas.

The Bushes have already bought a house in Dallas, 10411 Daria Place if you want to Google the heck out of it.  They lived in another home in Dallas for seven years before Mr. Bush became Governor of Texas after the 1994 elections.

(The best part about that story is that the First Lady bought the place without George W. even seeing it.)

Most of the work going on in the halls of Congress right now is over in the House, where workers there are busily painting offices and moving furniture all over the place, getting things ready for the new Congress that takes office on January 6.

It used to be that lawmakers didn’t vacate their offices until just about the day that the new Congress took office.  But in recent years, House officials boot all the lame ducks out before Thanksgiving to begin the massive moving project.

All of the open offices are listed for current members, who can choose to move into a new office if they want some different digs.  That’s all done by seniority.

Then the offices that are left are doled out by lottery to newly elected members.  It’s one of wackiest scenes you can imagine, as members-to-be and their staffs have a few precious minutes to decide where they want to stake their claim.

Those who get the last picks usually end up in the fifth floor of the Cannon building, or the 6th floor of Longworth, two locations that earn you snickers in the halls of Congress.

One thing is for sure – if you see a current member of Congress in the halls this week – either they are one who never leaves town, or they aren’t going to be back in January.