They're not as silly and worthless as you think.
This vitality is also why it's so easy to understand the not-infrequent affairs between female interns and powerful men. (Though there are no good numbers on this, anecdotal evidence suggests that females are a growing majority of D.C. interns.) The intern is attracted to the man for obvious reasons: The interns are young, they're hormonal, and they're political junkies. To them, a second-rate congressman looks like Mick Jagger.
And why are the men infatuated? It's not just because the interns are young and sexy. It's because the interns still honestly believe in Washington, believe that a congressman is just as important as he thinks he is. In a jaded city, that faith is the rarest and most enticing quality of all.
David Plotz is the Editor of Slate. He's the author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank and Good Book. He appears on Slate's Political Gabfest.