For John, BLUF: John, good analogy with the School Buses. Nothing to see here; just move along.
John McDonough, on the local access program City Life, in describing the US House of Representatives and its members, uses the school bus analogy. He sees the 435 (plus a couple of delegates♠) sitting on ten yellow school buses. The main point of this analogy is that the vast majority of Representatives don't get to sit in the first bus or even the front of their own bus. They don't have much influence on the direction of their bus, let alone all the buses. If you are a Freshman Representative you are the low person on the totem pole.
So, going with John's analogy, let us assume our buses hold 48 adults, plus the driver (who is a civil servant). Because some member of the MSM was colorblind and clueless, a while back Blue was assigned as the color for the Democrats, thus obscuring the socialist past of the Party. I guess the Republicans could have demanded Green, but the MSM knew that color belonged to environmentalists and no one was going to admit that there were any environmentalists amongst the Republicans. Black was also taken and Orange seemed a little garish,♥ so it was down to Red.
There are 199 Democrats in the US House of Representatives, so, the Democrats get five buses, one of which is only about one seventh full. The Senior Bus Mother for this crowd is Nancy Pelosi. The buses are painted blue.
With 234 members, in this scenario, the Republicans also get five buses, but their fifth is almost full, with only a dozen seats left over. The Senior Bus Mother is Eric Cantor.♦ The buses are red.
It does look like we need one Republican bus reserved for the Tea Party Caucus, which has 48 members, at last count. Their bus is Red, with a Tea Pot painted on both sides.
There are 2 Vacancies in the House of Representatives, but no matter which way they break they will not overfill a bus, unless they join the Tea Party Caucus, in which case we will need an 11th bus to handle the Tea Party Caucus members (standing is not recommended by the NHTSA). And, they expect their own bus or buses.
Then there is the Speaker of the House, Mr John Boehner. Unlike Westminster, the US Speaker is a partisan position and seen as such. On the other hand, he is second in line for the Presidency in the event of an untoward event. Does he get his own bus or does he ride with the majority, in this Congress a Red Bus?
So, if you wish to have influence you need to be on the Tea Party bus, since they represent the swing votes the Republicans need to pass legislation when the Democrats are opposed. When are the Democrats not opposed? One in 48 still isn't a powerful position, especially as a junior "one", but the odds are better than 1 in 234, or 186, with the Tea Party removed.
The conclusion is that John is giving us a good analogy, and a reason why one wants one's Representative to have several reelections behind them—so they sit further up in the bus, or maybe move to the bus the Majority or Minority Leader is riding on. The down side of that is it means they have become entrenched in the DC "system".
Regards — Cliff
♠ These six non-voting Delegates represent American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands, all "At Large".
♥ And offensive to the Irish.
♦ Mr Cantor lost his primary race, so he is not the Senior Bus Mother for long.