When is 60 not 60? When it’s 58.

Markos has an important point here, although most people are loathe to discuss it:

You see, Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd are too sick to show up! Both have been wheeled in for key votes in recent months, and one thinks the same could be done for key health care votes, but they have become the newest excuse for Democratic impotence in the Senate.

It’s unfortunate. Neither man (and especially Kennedy) deserves to see their legacy tarnished by becoming an excuse for the failure of a robust health care plan. Democrats need to either admit that the problem lies elsewhere (the Nelsons of the party), or gently ask that Kennedy and Byrd cede their seats to new senators who can help finish the fight for Kennedy’s lifelong crusade.

It’s weird how often people say “we only have 58” as if that’s the answer to an insolvable problem.

Senate seats aren’t given for life. Senators aren’t royalty. Their staffers aren’t elected.

I know this subject is anathema to even broach here in DC. A lot of people whisper about it, but no one will say it out loud, like Markos did. To even suggest the idea that Senators should retire when they’re in such perilous physical condition violates some unwritten rule. But, it’s one of those weird rules that only makes sense within a mile or two radius of Capitol Hill. That’s because the mindset on Capitol Hill is one of treating members, especially in the Senate, like royalty. Meanwhile, the rest of us are worried about our own health insurance and the need for reform — and that could be impacted by the all-but-vacant Senate seats from Massachusetts and West Virginia. At least that’s what we’ve all been led to believe is the problem right now.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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