Alan Webber: Who’s getting served?
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin announced he plans to run for Senate again in 2020.
By the time his current term expires, the 74-year-old Durbin will have spent 24 years in the Senate. Previously, he was a U.S. Congressman for 14 years. For the math challenged, that is 38 years for Mr. Durbin floating in the D.C. Swamp, yet he has decided to run again for another six-year term. Jeez, senator, it’s not a retirement home.
With hardly any Republicans in the entire state of Illinois able to mount a credible campaign to beat him, particularly given a campaign war chest that allows Durbin to outspend his competitors by a 5-1 margin, his re-election virtually is ordained upon his announcement. At the completion of that term, he will be 82 years old and have hung out for 30 years in the Senate. Maybe it’s time for Adam Kinzinger to step up and see just how popular he really is in the state.
Durbin might be the poster child for term limits. The Democrats vote with fellow Democrats 97 percent of the time. This “sterling” record, along with his tenure, makes Durbin the perfect candidate for “whip” positions, which he presently holds. The “whip” of either party has the directive of assuring strict adherence to keeping other senators voting along party lines…rather than voting on an issue in a way which might be best for his constituents or the country. It would appear the whip position also includes the job of standing next to the speaker of the House in front of a camera and nodding one’s head in agreement with everything that comes out of the speaker’s mouth.
It’s near impossible to languish in the Swamp for decades without getting muck on oneself. Durbin’s devotion to Democrat party ideals, including its iniquitous pro-abortion platform, has put him at odds with his own Roman Catholic faith and the Springfield Archdiocese. Additionally, his wife’s previous D.C. lobbyist position came into question when certain clients of hers received funding promoted by Durbin. She since has retired.
You have to ask yourself, did the Founding Fathers envision future generations of politicians hanging on to government positions for decades and so late in life? George Washington certainly didn’t think so, as he turned down a third term of president, stating a third term was too long for anyone to hold the position. (He also warned against political parties, and well …)
Durbin is hardly the record holder for senatorial longevity, sadly not even close. West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd wielded power in the Senate for 51½ years. Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye and South Carolina Republican Strom Thurmond hung around for 50 years each.
Imagine how the world changed while these guys were at the helm. In between alcohol incidents that would land most people in jail, including the drowning of a young lady, Teddy Kennedy still managed to get elected to the Senate eight times spanning during 47 years.
On the House side of the Swamp, Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell kept showing up for more than 59 years.
Nor is Sen. Durbin the oldest member of the Senate, past or present. The oldest sitting Senator in history was Thurmond, who incredibly was 100 years old and still occupying a seat in the Senate. At 84 years old, Diane Feinstein is the oldest senator currently in office.
But I keep asking myself: Why would someone reaching the autumn years of their life want to spend those last remaining months elbowing and fighting with fellow politicians, lobbyists, the media and the rest of the creatures who make up the soupy composition of the Swamp? What is it about the job people would rather spend time in D.C. than go home to their families or to pursue life-long passions?
If you notice, in this commentary at no time did I use the word “serve” for the time spent by any senator or congressmen, a word the Swamp creatures like to use to explain the time spent in the Swamp. That is because they don’t serve — our servicemen serve us, not elected officials hanging around Capitol buildings doing busywork.
We have had a series of do-nothing Congressional sessions by people who wield power over the rest of us like Lords, and they thrive on it. They play silly political games at our expense, live lavishly, mortgage our grandchildren’s futures and pass laws on us that don’t apply to themselves. That is not service.
Is it any wonder they hang on so long?