Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., teeters on glittery, gold four-inch heels, the skirt of her dress swishing as she trails a fellow Republican who is furiously scribbling a Medicare overhaul plan on a yellow legal pad. Other "senators" bounce balloons back and forth through the aisleways; one Republican sits in the back of the chamber, studying an iPad to figure out how to tie his tie.
The chamber, such as it is, is a ballroom at the Boston Sheraton hotel. The senators are type-A teenagers tasked with assuming the personas of real Capitol Hill lawmakers, including their policy views, personal opinions, and constituent demands. The role-play does not, however, extend to wardrobe. The tall brunette playing Thune wears a black dress with a large cutout in the back. But she feels it's in character. She looks up, eyes hooded in perfectly stenciled eyeliner, and explains: "Well, he's a good looking guy."
John Thune in a dress isn't nearly as surprising as the end result of Harvard University's Model Congress, where 1,400 high school students colonize an icy Boston conference center and somehow, in very non-congressional fashion, manage to get something done for the American people.