Ted Kennedy: A lifetime elected

Not his: mine. I was born in July 1962. He was first elected to the Senate in November 1962. Almost as long as I have been alive, he’s been setting policies that affect me.

Is 47 years too long? I can’t imagine the Founding Fathers had lifetime achievement awards in mind when they started this thing. Plato believed a small group of educated should govern. Cicero added they should be rich. None of the ancient philosophers mentioned term limits that I could find. My Founding Fathers search came up empty on the subject, too.

I struggle with the idea of term limits. Take someone like Don Nickles from Oklahoma. (Have I ever mentioned I did lit drops for his Senate campaign in 1980?) When he left in 2004, it was my understanding he felt he’d overstayed his visit. He’d never intended to have a lifetime in the Senate. But then again, maybe he saw the writing on the Republicans’ wall and got out before the decline.

Don Nickles would certainly have had something to give had he stayed on. Heck, learning the parliamentary procedures alone takes a few years I would imagine. Building relationships of trust and candor – that would take a while, too.

But 47 years?

Not to worry. Robert Byrd (D-WV) has Kennedy bested by three years as a Senator since January of 1959. Daniel Inouye, a Democrat from Hawaii, is only three months behind Kennedy’s tenure. Maybe it’s all that great health care.


  1. The best answer to this question and any other question is to throw all of Congress OUT!

    The only infallible, unstoppable, guaranteed way to get a truly new Congress is : NEVER REELECT ANY INCUMBENT! AND DO IT EVERY ELECTION!

    Most folks think I am too unreasonable in asking everyone to NEVER REELECT ANYONE IN CONGRESS. They think it’s an ‘extremist’ position. But that’s the whole point! Congress will never listen to us UNLESS we scare the bejesus out of them! To drive the point home, NEVER REELECT ANYONE IN CONGRESS, AND DO IT EVERY ELECTION!

    The closer we get to a “Voter’s One-Term Congress”, the closer we’ll get to a “Citizen’s Congress”.

    There is only one way to make this happen : The American voter must IMPOSE term limits on Congress by NEVER REELECTING ANYONE IN CONGRESS, AND DO IT EVERY ELECTION! In other words, don’t let anyone serve more than one term. That’s the only way to teach them that the voter is the boss! The “one term limit” can be eased AFTER citizens get control of Congress.

    Congress will never allow us to constitutionally term limit them by an amendment. Our only choice is to NEVER REELECT them. All of them!

    Remember too, it makes no difference who you vote for, as long as it is NEVER any incumbent.

    I believe that even a little success in a campaign to NEVER REELECT ANYONE IN CONGRESS would move us a long way toward a revolutionary change in American politics, much like 1776. Some of the reasons in favor of this approach:

    • It gives us a one-term, term limited Congress without using amendments
    • It would be supported by 70% of the country who want term limits for Congress
    • It is completely non-partisan
    • If repeated, it ends career politicians dominating Congress
    • It opens the way to a “citizen Congress”
    • It ends the seniority system that keeps freshmen powerless
    • It doesn’t cost you any money. But you MUST vote! Just don’t vote for an incumbent
    • It is the only guaranteed, infallible, unstoppable way to “Throw ALL the Bums Out”
    • It takes effect immediately the day after Election Day
    • If it doesn’t work, do it again and again! It will work eventually, I promise.


    Nelson Lee Walker of tenurecorrupts.com Saratoga, CA

  2. The Lorax says:

    Woah, boy.

  3. I think he means it. At least he’s thought it through on his end.

  4. A new (recent) poll shows most Americans would like to throw them all out. Unfortunately, they usually vote for their own.

    Here’s the link