September 1, 2005

"Senators rarely grow in office. Usually they just get more childish and egomaniacal!"

Says Mickey Kaus. He's talking about Biden, but I wonder if it's true as a broad proposition. I'm not too fond of Senators myself. It's been widely noted that they almost never win presidential elections — and they all seem to think they deserve to be President. What is it about being a Senator?

15 comments:

Troy said...

It's called insulation from real life. Athletes, professors (I'm one too), senators, movie and music stars get it too (he painted with an admittedly broad brush). Too much ass-kissing and not enough doing (mowing, cooking, lifting, manual labor) is not good for a healthy ego.

On the other hand -- Trent Lott's house was absolutely -- and I mean "abso-bloomin'-lutely" -- demolished by Katrina. Some things reach everyone.

AJ Lynch said...

It must be the trappings of the office combined with no term limits. What's that old saying??..... the time it takes to finish a job is in direct relation to the time alotted for the job.

In my opinion, very few states can actually brag of having had (in the last 50 years) a true statesman-like and impactful senator. Try to think of which ones you'd place in that category.

Steve Donohue said...

We here in Illinois can boast, I think, with Adlai Stevenson. But That's going back a while, now, isn't it?

ziemer said...

there's barry goldwater, of course, but that's going back a while, too.

Jonathan said...

I was a big fan of Malcolm Wallop when he was in office. I loved hearing him speak on C-SPAN. Don't know if he ever got much done, but he had the right values. It reflects well on him that he left the Senate after a few terms.

Some Senators seem like genuinely thoughtful and decent people, but most of the prominent ones come across as gasbags or unprincipled ambitionoids. I once thought their dishonesty and cynicism had crested during the Clinton impeachment, but it has only gotten worse. John Kerry, in particular, seems to be an archetype of privileged incompetence who manages to be at once arrogant and out of touch (not that the Republicans don't have some real winners, too).

vnjagvet said...

Sam Nunn was a great Senator from Georgia who never outgrew his britches.

vnjagvet said...

Adlai E. Stevenson was never a Senator. He was Governor of Illinois before he ran for President and Ambassador to the United Nations at the time of his death.

dick said...

Sen Dirksen comes to mind. We would not have a civil rights bil passed without his intervention. He was good copy and a good interview but he was also one hell of a good senator!!

SteveR said...

I agree with Dirksen, Goldwater and Nunn, I also thought Howard Baker was decent as well. No matter how you slice it, it's not a long list.

Bruce Hayden said...

I really don't like where Congress has gone. There are too many there who are in, essentially, for life. I was somewhat surprised that John Kerry is the junior Senator from Mass., given his 20 or so years there. But I am sure there are more egregious examples.

At least in the Senate, there is some turnover, though not as much as I would like. In the House, there is very little - given the prevalence of gerrymandering.

I much prefer the citizen-legislator, as we now have in Colorado (except at the federal level, due to Supremecy, etc.) Maybe if we can get term limits in enough states, we can impose them federally for Congress.

Steve Donohue said...

Mea culta about Stevenson- I don't know what made me think that...

miklos rosza said...

Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) is renowned within the state for how much he helps people when asked. Some say it's just that he has a great staff, but he hired the staff. If you're in trouble unjustfiably (as for nstance losing Social Security when you're disabled and poor), call Wyden's office. No one will ask if you voted for him, either.

This is why he's re-elected with 75% of the vote.

Jim Gust said...

Two other nominees for great Senators:
Hubert Humphrey and Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Elliott said...

I would say that LBJ belongs in the group of great Senators.

Troy said...

LBJ was a crook -- from the get-go. More dead people voted for him than Boss Tweed and the Chicago Daleys combined.

Of course, if you're gonna be a crooked bastard, getting the Civil Rights Act of '57 through the Democrats in the Senate and signing the '64 Act tend to atone.