It’s time for some fresh blood

Retire? Hell no! I plan to serve another 10 years.

Old guard fades from Dem ranks

Slowly but surely, the old guard of the House Democratic Caucus is fading.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), with his announcement Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2012, joins a growing list of senior Democrats who have retired or lost races in the last two years.

The departures rob the party of decades in accumulated legislative experience, but they also provide openings for younger House Democrats who have seen their path to leadership positions and top committee slots blocked by a cadre of Democratic elders in their 70s and 80s.

Democrats determine their committee chairmen largely by seniority, and the top three members of their leadership team, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Assistant Leader James Clyburn (S.C.), are all over 70.

In the 2010 elections, committee chairmen John Spratt (S.C.) and Ike Skelton (Mo.) lost reelection bids. Appropriations chief David Obey (Wis.) retired in the face of a tough campaign. The three had collectively served more than a century in Congress.

Since the start of the year, four House Democrats who have served more than 20 years have announced their retirements: Reps. Dale Kildee (Mich.), John Olver (Mass.), Jerry Costello (Ill.) and Frank.

Top Democrats downplay the extent to which the retirements of the last two years represent a changing of the guard for the party.

How old is your congressional representative? How old are your senators? My congressman (Dennis Cardoza) is retiring because he has been redistricted out of a job. My senators are 78 (Feinstein) and 71 (Boxer). Boxer just got reelected and Feinstein is running again next year. They both took office nineteen years ago. Robert Byrd was in office for his ninth senate term when he died at the age of 92.

I’m not really in favor of term limits, but maybe we should consider age limits. What have we got to lose. It’s not like the current leadership has been doing a bang-up job.

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60 Responses to It’s time for some fresh blood

  1. DeniseVB says:

    Moderate Dems Mark Warner (56) and Jim Webb (65). Both first termers, but Webb is not running for re-election which is leading to the battle between George “macaca” Allen and Tim Kaine. Erg.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Yea, that’s mine too. That’s going to be a fun race. Mark of course has presidential desires, but is strictly a party machine man so wouldn’t primary Obama. In fact in ’08 he toyed with the idea of running until he found out the party machine had already selected their man. Look for him to run in ’12.

  2. yttik says:

    I like term limits. I don’t think people should be grandfathered into these congresscritter jobs. They can go run for governor, city council, some other elected position if they want. We have term limits for President, why not congresscritters?

    I would like to see more young people in congress. LOL, by young, I mean in their 40’s-50’s. When you think about it, it becomes pretty astounding, we have congresscritters who grew up before computers, before indoor plumbing, before TV. These are the people who are going to regulate the internet? We need variety and diversity in congress and people who have a different perspective of the world.

    • votermom says:

      Why stop at term limits? What they should do is raffle off congress seats in local lotteries – one non-transferrible ticket per eligible resident.

  3. I think term limits would be a good thing- if tied to an ironclad rule against them becoming lobbyists or consultants.
    Citizen legislators, making a sacrifice to serve a couple of terms and then return to live under the laws they crafted. This perpetual political class creates a world of problems imo.

    • myiq2xu says:

      You would be surprised how many taxpayer-funded sinecures there are for retired politicians.

      Government boards and committees that don’t do anything.

    • DandyTiger says:

      We definitely need some rules about lobbyists and relations with politicians both while in office and after.

      Oh and definitely no benefits or anything after serving other than what everyone else gets. So SS and Medicare. That’s it. I’m OK with presidents getting some secret service though.

      • myiq2xu says:

        It’s not really the lobbying that worries me. It’s a congressman know that if he/she votes the “right” way there will be a cushy job waiting for them when they leave office.

        • DandyTiger says:

          Aren’t there laws against buying influence like that? Can’t we just enforce those?

          Hmm, maybe we need a district attorney type roll that comes from the judicial branch who’s sole job is to police and prosecute those sorts of things within the other two branches. For power separations it couldn’t all be judicial branch. Perhaps which ever branch has a bad apple, the other branch needs to be involved along with judicial.

        • foxyladi14 says:

          I wonder what Barney has lined up. 🙂

  4. DeniseVB says:

    Must read…..Andrew Malcolm explains all the confusion for Campaign ’12, and a bat signal 😀

    Finally, just four weeks and six days before the first vote count, we have some commonsense clarity in the crucial 2012 race for the White House, both in the party of fading unions and the party of struggling American families

  5. honora says:

    My congressman is John Sarbanes. He is a do nothing congressman, who got the job because his father was our senator, and he will me my congressman for as long as I live in this district. Unfortunately, he is only 50, so he isn’t going anywhere. Where else could he get such a cushy job?? He is also one of the few congress critters who can sleep in his home district every night. That, of course, doesn’t mean that I have ever seen him in my neighborhood. Why bother, he is ‘the democrat’ and he represents a safe ‘democratic district’?

  6. DandyTiger says:

    I’m OK with term limits. Perhaps 2 (12 years) for senate and 6 (12 years) for the house. Like with the president, it doesn’t have to be consecutive, so you can be in and out, but could only be elected for 12 years of service.

    Age limit is an interesting issue. I think we could have some number for all three branches. I probably wouldn’t set it to SS retirement numbers because I don’t want them to have any extra motivation to move it up. How about 70. You can’t get elected at 70 or above. You can serve older however you get in office, you just can’t run while 70 or above. Or maybe there is some metal agility test. No wait, that would disqualify most all of them from office. Ha, like that would be a bad thing.

    • myiq2xu says:

      My mom is 77 years old. I love her but she’s not as sharp as she used to be.

      That’s okay, she’s retired and still has a lot of years ahead of her. But she is mentally and physically past her prime.

      Robert Byrd was senile for years before he died. So was Jesse Helms.

      • DandyTiger says:

        Byrd and Helms were embarrassments. As have been a few others. They made the congress look even more pathetic than it otherwise looks.

        Hmm, maybe we should think of congress like horses. Didn’t the Dems just pass a bill making it legal to slaughter horses again? Some animals are more equal than others.

  7. crawdad says:

    We need to cut out the deadwood so that the younger ones can make their mark. If Hillary doesn’t run in 2016, who will?

    Think of local offices like the entry-level of a political farm system – the good ones move up, the bad ones move out.

    Every four years there should be at least half a dozen qualified POTUS contenders.

  8. DandyTiger says:

    For lobbyists and PAC’s and the like, outlaw any money being used for any political purposes. Period. A group can form a lobby to meet, propose things, etc. But no money can go from those groups or individual members to politicians in any way. No corporate or non people money for politics. Period. Corporations are not people and have no free speech rights. And once you’ve been a politician, you’re banned for life from having any relations with a lobbying firm or PAC related organization. And you can’t be paid by any organization that has any ownership or funding from those types of organizations.

  9. DandyTiger says:

    In the end, positions of power mean a lot of other things like money. It’s hard to separate them. But we should try really, really hard to separate them.

  10. yttik says:

    I’m going to have to stop calling them congresscritters and start calling them crypt keepers.

    I’d support age limits, except I know some really moronic young people and some pretty sharp older people.

  11. Lulu says:

    Perks and power make people in all jobs hang on forever. Start cutting the perks, curtail their power and they start retiring. If some of these old fossils did not have staff doing everything for them including feeding them while they wear a bib they would have to retire. Recently in some hearing Orin Hatch went all sappy over the “wrong” done to Ted (Tubes) Stevens. If Senator Tubes had not been as senile as hell he probably would not gotten into hot water with DOJ to start with. Congress could push them out if they wanted to do so as they know who is dopey or a slacker but it is professional courtesy. Therefore the public needs to get rid of all of them periodically since they are unable to self police.

  12. DandyTiger says:

    Speak of the devil, here are all my representatives plus the two vying for Webb’s seat in an op-ed together:

  13. HELENK says:

    the article from Hillary44 mentioned that the dems have NO next generation. Where are the Paul Ryans in the dem party?
    The senior dems were so interested in holding their own jobs, no successors were thought about. And with backtrack leading the pack, I can not see anyone wanting to start out as a dem today

  14. HELENK says:

    the dems might need some new ideas.
    Reid says the 2012 election theme will be wait for it

    • DeniseVB says:

      Of course they’ll blame Bush because Obama always said it would take two terms to clean up Bush’s two term mess.

      I guess Team WTF hasn’t noticed how much worse BO made Bush’s mess.

  15. votermom says:


  16. DandyTiger says:

    So it looks like Cain is staying in the race because of a ground swell of support. I think the fact that this latest person was so unbelievable with her background of multitudes of lawsuits, slander, and economic problems has sort of nullified her.

    Let the entertainment continue!! 🙂

  17. propertius says:

    How old is your congressional representative?


    How old are your senators?

    47 and 61

    However, their donor lists are a lot more revealing than their ages.

  18. guest says:

    Front page this!

    Love the way Joe S. goes after Mika and silences her.

  19. yttik says:

    Off topic, but this is bad karma:

    Former “sheriff of the year” arrested and sent to jail named after him

  20. Karma says:

    Seamus, plots his revenge, from the roof of Mitten’s station wagon.

Comments are closed.