year has seen more people voluntarily quitting the senate before their term
runs out than any other year in recent memory.
For years people have said that being a Senator is the best job in
America. But it is obviously not the
case as a whole bunch of people are leaving before their term ends.
Obama and Joe Biden left the Senate this year.
But they, at least, had a really good excuse. They became President and Vice President –
definitely a promotion. Hilary Clinton,
too, left the Senate to become Secretary of State … also a promotion. But a bunch of people left the Senate for
left to run the Department of the Interior.
No slight to the Interior, but it doesn’t seem as impressive as the being
the senior Senator from Colorado – especially one that has only had the job for
four years. And Judd Gregg from New
Hampshire tried to leave the Senate to become Secretary of Commerce before
having a dispute about the census.
there’s Mel Martinez from Florida. He’s
just leaving after four years for no stated reason.
in their defense, when the President asks you to serve, you do it!
The answer may be found in the obvious: what do senators do all day? It’s a far cry from the disinterested solons envisioned by the founders. They generally raise money for hours on end (and this has become much worse, not better, from recent “reforms,” despite what people might first assume). Their every move is tracked online. Their votes are monitored by powerful interest groups. They simply don’t make enough of a difference to justify going through what they must go through to serve. Compared to historic norms, we likely have fewer blatantly corrupt senators than ever before. We also have fewer outstanding senators. The balance sheet isn’t clear. But it merits reflection.
Having met Senator Martinez, this is pretty suprising to me. A two term senator is set to be a senator for life and have the sort of impact on the country that can not be had from any other position in goverment. Whether it is Kennendy or McCain, a senator in a secure state can take the role of a true long term leader, the concience of the country, and even provide some “oversight” for the president. Throughout history, especially since we limited presidents to 8 years where even the one term senator serves 6….senators who serve a few terms have a big opportunity to change the country for the long term