Thursday, January 7

We Need More Retirements in the Congress, Not Less

I certainly understand the collective whine coming from us progressives over the "loss" of Senators Dodd and Dorgen. But look, both of them have birthdays in May: Dodd will be 66 and Dorgan 68. When are these guys supposed to retire?

We've got the oldest US Senate in the history of forever. Forty-eight US Senators are over sixty-five, and twenty-seven of those are over seventy.

I don't want anyone to think I'm being ageist here, though I actually think it's an ageist thing on the part of boomers to keep these (pardon the expression) fossils in office. One always feels younger if the leadership of your country is older than you. A large part of the susceptibility of seniors to distrust Obama has to do with him being in his forties, I'm sure.

And why would a body of (mostly) men who continue to get Federal Employee health insurance see the urgency of a Medicare buy-in for people under sixty five? Hell, Senator Grassley (running for re-election and he'll be 78 in September) told a constituent flat-out last June that if he wanted a good deal on health insurance he should become an employee of the federal government. No, really:

I think we need more members of Congress to retire.

Sure, like a lot of progressives I would miss Bernie Sanders (68) and Jay Rockefeller (72) and Barbara Boxer (69). But I certainly don't think there aren't progressive candidates available to run and serve in their place.

The Democrats in particular should be ashamed for needing to wheel Robert Byrd (ninty-effing-two) into the chamber late Christmas Eve for a sixtieth vote. If Joe Lieberman (67) can fake-filibuster without actually lifting a finger or pulling out a cot, Byrd should be able to vote "aye" from home.

The argument for incumbency benefits only the two political parties and the advertising reps and consultants who make running for office a million dollar business. Screw them and their self-preservation. As Chris Dodd said yesterday, "None of us is irreplaceable. None of us are indispensible. Those who think otherwise, are dangerous."


  1. Amen sister. I wish they would all retire so we'd get corporate influence out of there for a year or two.

  2. Good one, Frannie.

    If only it mattered what we think, huh?

    I'm wondering a little bit myself if this isn't a MSM-created issue in that Dodd is slated to be replaced by a good progressive (which they gotta hate considering his ever-continuing Faux Noise negative newsworthiness) and anything that reflects negatively on Obama is always worthy of great attention (not that they would mention real issues that progressives have with Obama's polices and actions).

    And the real story on Dorgan has to be what's the next well-paid job he's escaping to before teh Rethug onslaught of 2010.

    So, let's get organized and start to replace most of the reps we don't like with ones we do.

    Thanks for shedding light on this issue.


  3. pwapvt5:41 PM

    Yes we do. All the way around. If they've been there longer than 15 years they need to go home and write a book about it. quietly.

    Suzan, nobody will talk about all of the rethug retires, of which there are at least 6. it's always good news for the republicans ya know.

    I suggest replacing them with independents, or true progressives, not Dem progressives.

  4. We really should get rid of the dinos....
    first on my list?

    McCain. (He's actually up for reelection) Damn old man-- thanks for your service, but step down already, have some dignity. And take your toady LIEberman with you.

    Chuck *his ass is* GrASSley-- on the take for Wealthcare money big time... got on the Death Panel bandwagon. Time to kick his grASSley ass out.

    Harry Reid on the blue side is up for re-election.... the guy has been pretty damned ineffective.

    And finally any a-hole politician who always wields an APPROVE stamp any time War funding comes around. They don't even blink as they approve more & more billions.
    These are the same politicians who come to the podium & whine "how will we pay for healthcare, it's an awful lot of money"

    I want to yell- Quit funding the damned wars!!!

    Definite keepers include:
    Grayson D-FL
    Feingold D-WI currently up for reelection

    Get rid of any party of NO bastards, as far as I am concerned. these people are OK w letting Americans die w/o healthcare, just to play political games. Kick em' to the curb!

  5. Kelly8:57 AM

    You are absolutely right! I haven't seen anyone else point this out but I think you've put your finger on a big part of the problem with Congress these days.

    As you note, progress on many progressive issues seems much more likely to occur when the next generation of legislators gets involved. For example, gay marriage? Opposition is closely correlated with age.

    I think societal and political changes happens the same way physicist Max Planck described scientific progress: "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

    Keep up the great work!

  6. When I heard Dorgan was retiring, my first reaction was a quiet cheer. Now if only Ben Nelson would follow him out the door. . .

  7. Have no fear. A whole bunch of Dimocrats will be retiring this fall, and not by choice.

  8. Thanks, pwapvt,

    Good comments!

    There actually are lots more Rethugs retiring than Dims.

    But try finding the MSM covering it, huh?

    I always used to say when engineering changes to management were announced:

    More of them will have to die - soon!

    Thanks, BG!


    P.S. My word verif is "messess" - do you think we have a superfluity of messes?


  9. Quaker Dave has stated my fear. Although it's not so much a fear as it is a hope that they will be replaced by Greens or Socialists.

    Dream on, kona. Dream on.

  10. 'Gal, as much as I respect your intellect, I'm not getting on this train. Ted Kennedy was old, and right 'till the end he represented my best interests with all his heart and soul. And Bernie Sanders, at 68, is doing a fine (albeit imperfect) job.

    Admittedly, not all of the "fossils" in Congress ought to stay. I just think it's short-sighted to suggest that old public servants ought to go away and let less experienced people run the place.

    There are cultures where age and experience are equated with wisdom, and older folks are honored for their ability to take the long view.

    It's my contention that that paradigm merits consideration.

  11. Cunning as I said I would also miss Sanders and Rockefeller as I miss Ted Kennedy. Very much so. But being a US Senator ISN'T a lifetime position. It's an elected position, and the longer a Senator holds that office, it seems, the more corporate interests have a hold on them (notice at least two out of three we mentioned are millionaires anyhow and I wouldn't want that to be a prerequisite).

    This isn't ageism so much as a veiled anti-incumbent fever, I suppose. But I can't help feeling that a group of very privileged people 48% of whom have reached traditional retirement age have no clue nor care as to what this 46 year-old single mother of three, and every other working struggling family in America, needs from their government. They certainly have not taken that into account in the health CARE debate.

  12. PS you don't honor the older wiser of your society by expecting them to hold a safe seat merely for the sake of party power, long after their bodies have ceased to hold the strength to do so. For the parties and press to squeal about what happens to the Democrats when Dodd faced CANCER last summer is deeply pathetic. Ditto for Kennedy (um, brain cancer? and you can't appoint his political surrogate in his place immediately because it's a GOP Governor?) and of course, Byrd.

    The parties are to blame for this. They don't give a crap about honoring the wisdom of the aged, they care about a lazy habit-driven electorate and the cheapest way to keep a majority, the end.

    1. How'd you get so smart? Oh yeah - prob'ly has something to do with good schools and paying attention(?).

      The seat-holders in the US House of Lords need to be turned out on a regular basis.

      Maybe, instead of Term Limits, we could just put in a rule that acknowledges reality and says you're allowed to triple your Net Worth (or add $25M to it - whichever comes first), and then you have to get out.

      Worth thinking about anyway.


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