I read recently that Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut is the “most endangered Democratic lawmaker” entering the 2010 election cycle. Many Democratic leaders and pundits fear that he will not be re-elected. My question is, so what’s the big deal? Of course I know that the Democratic majority does not want to lose their 60-member filibuster-proof caucus. Regardless of that prized possession, I say let Christopher Dodd and others like him lose every election.
I do not know much about Senator Dodd and his accomplishments and failures, but I do know that he has served five terms in the US Senate. That’s thirty (30) years sitting on his high chair in the US Senate! If Senator Dodd has not accomplished much yet, chances are he will not do much hereafter.
My contention is simple: Why should one politician be allowed to serve more than three (3) terms in the Senate or more than five (5) terms in the House of Representatives?
On November 18, 2009, Senator Byrd of West Virginia became the longest serving lawmaker in Congressional history. That is fine, except that he has been in Congress since 1959. Why? That was 10 years before I was born. How can he be expected to speak for me or people of my generation?
I have also heard that Senator McCain of Arizona, the Republican 2008 Nominee will be seeking re-election to the Senate. Why? He has been in Congress since 1983.
Congress is for people who do whatever it takes to ensure that the people’s business is in order. It is not for politicians to vie for decades of position-jockeying and power-play. I am by no means saying that these men have not done anything to better the lives of Americans. The point is, they have had enough time to play their cards right.
One of biggest concerns is that there are too many politicians who have been in Congress for too long and have become pillars of the Capitol, holding onto their positions of power. The longer that Senators and Representatives sit in their padded chairs, the more being in Congress becomes more about them and less about the people who send them to Congress to speak to our interests.
It is time for those who have been in Congress for over 20 years to step aside to allow a fresh wind of ideas to flow through the Capitol and then waft its way out to the hills and plains of America.
It is my hope that as you read this, you will not misunderstand or misinterpret my position. I do not have anything personal against Senators Byrd, Dodd or McCain, or against any other long serving Congressional lawmaker. It is just my humble opinion that there should be a limit to the number of years a politician should be allowed to sit in Congress. Politicians lose touch with the people and need to be replaced by those who are more closely aligned to a particular group of people or generation. Basketball players, football greats, golf masters all stop at a certain point when their period of effectiveness is over.
Why then should serving in Congress be a lifetime role? It is quite clear that many Representatives and Senators only show up to vote and hold caucuses together.
Is it time for a revolution?