An exclusive club of misfits

6 May

dysfunctional-congress-sizedHardly anyone wants to be in national politics anymore.

Those that do seem to be limited to the every rich, the very egotistic, the very naïve or a combination of all three.

This squeezes out the average person – the ones the founding father’s had in mind.

The carpenters, the farmers, the office worker, the everyday people who make up our nation.

What is left is the delusional, the out-of-touch, the one striving for something – anything – that would bring meaning to their lives.

The average person is left standing on the sidelines.

And you can’t blame them.

Senators are retiring and hardly any viable candidates are stepping up to run for their seat.

This points to something many have been saying for years – few want to serve in the Senate.

Short of being President, it was once considered one of the most powerful and sought after political positions.

To be a US Senator was to reach the top of a political career.

A stepping stone to whatever anyone wanted to be, in or out of government.

The “most exclusive club in the world” welded power and influence most could only dream of.

Now it attracts only those dreaming of power.

Unable to do its job by its own arcane rules and stagnated by infighting, potential members now look to a governorship as the road to the presidency, not the Senate.

The average person is frozen out by the cost of getting there — which can run into the tens-of-millions of dollars.

Add the negative advertising, constant criticism from the press and exhausting schedules, few want to take that step.

We see this not only in the people who not want the job but also in the number of senators not seeking re-election.

So far, 8 of the 33 whose terms expire next year have announced they will not run again.

They include some who probably would have had no problem being reelected.

Senate retirements are at the highest levels on record.

Since the 2010 elections, thirty senators have quit.
And more could come.

In the past, when a seat opened up, Democratic and Republican challengers quickly lined up.

This year there are numerous states with open seats where only one party has a candidate and several with no announced candidate.

No Democrat has stepped forward in Kentucky to challenge Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader.

Democrats also have no strong candidate yet in West Virginia, where John Rockefeller IV is retiring.

It’s worse when recruiting Republicans, because gains in the Senate are theirs to lose.

Twenty Democratic-held seats are up in 2014, compared with 13 held by Republicans.

And many of those Democratic seats are in states where President Obama lost in 2012 — including North Carolina, Montana, Arkansas and Alaska.

So far, Republicans have no viable declared candidates in any of those states yet.

This is important because it’s almost too late to get a campaign going for the 2014 election.

Part of it is the advice being handed out to a prospective candidate: spend $50,000 on an in-depth opposition research paper on themselves.

That way they’ll get a sense of what mud might be slung their way.

No one wants to go though that.
We all have skeletons in our closet we want to stay there.

But the real reason many are choosing not to run is a common belief the Senate is too difficult a place to accomplish much of anything these days.

What is left are the worst-of-of-the-worst and they become a member of what used to be the most exclusive club in the world.

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