FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty
Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia is now officially the longest-serving member of Congress –ever!
The Democrat from West Virginia - who turns 92 tomorrow - has served for almost 57 years - including 6 years in the House and 51 in Senate... that translates to a record of 20,774 days.
He's served under 11 presidents - coming to Washington during the Eisenhower administration in 1953.
Byrd tops all other senators in the number of votes cast... that would be more than 18-thousand... and the number of leadership positions held - including two stints as majority leader.
He's never lost an election.
Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 40s... later calling it "the most egregious mistake" he'd ever made... and he voted against the civil rights act in the 60s... but he later followed a more traditional Democratic path, blasting Pres. George W. Bush's policies after 9-11 and during the Iraq war.
Byrd is thanking the people of West Virginia for their ongoing confidence in him... He says it's been the "quality and dedication of service" that has guided him and that he looks forward to serving them for quote "the next 56 years and 320 days."
Fine. But this isn't what our forefathers intended. They didn't envision career politicians - but rather people who would give a few years of their life to public service and then go back to farming or banking or whatever it is they did.
But without term limits - in a lot of cases, we wind up with politicians who spend their entire adult lives in Congress. And in many cases the results aren't good.
SO HERE'S MY QUESTION FOR YOU:Is it a good thing that a senator has set a record for serving nearly 57 years in Congress?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Dave in New York
Congress is the grayest it's ever been. Senators, on average, are older than ever and House members are the oldest in more than a century. Look where that's gotten us! The old geezers are best at working the old system – not reforming it. So long as the best and the brightest are lead by the eldest and most lethargic, we cannot hope for change.
Vivian in Largo, Maryland
No. Record or no record, 57 years is long past the time of diminishing returns. But the problem is with the American people. What is wrong with us that we keep electing the same representatives to Congress for 20, 30, 40, and 57 years? Don’t we realize that our vote is the term limit? Yet we continue to vote for incompetent, time-worn, time-exhausted representatives who don’t know how to do more than yield the floor to “my distinguished colleague.”
I am a 56-year-old grandmother and I raised my kids in West Virginia. I had the honor of conversing with Senator Byrd on more than one occasion. He's lasted as long as he has because he is a rare bird (pun not intended) – he truly loves the people of West Virginia and they know it. He has done whatever he can to help his people and most of them would do whatever they could to help him.
Dave in Munhall, Pennsylvania
At first blush, Jack, I would say absolutely not. But then again he hasn't sold out the people of his state and country by quitting his office and become a hired gun for some lobbying firm for an obscene and totally unearned amount of money. Also, if the people of his state are satisfied with the job he is doing and vote him back into office that is their business, regardless of what I think.
Greg in New York
There isn't a job on this planet that allows you to do so little for so long.
Harry in Millersburg, Kentucky
No, but don't you think complaining about someone's age and length of service might be sending the wrong signal to your bosses at CNN?