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November 19th, 2009
02:16 PM ET

Good thing that senator served for almost 57 years?

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia is now officially the longest-serving member of Congress.

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia is now officially the longest-serving member of Congress.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia is now officially the longest-serving member of Congress –ever!

Ready?

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.”

Sheila
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?


Filed under: Congress • Senate
soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    Every institution needs mentors and 'respected elders.' And by all accounts, Robert Byrd has been very giving and gracious of his time to younger members of the Senate over the years. He knows the system better than the system knows itself. He has also managed to re-invent himself many times over six decades ... probably why he's still there.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    November 19, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  2. Barbie from Hollywood, CA

    That's a long time, isn't it? There are some (Kennedy & Byrd) who (overall) have made remarkable decisions for the betterment of people and government. But I fear when Byrd goes, anyone else who holds a position for that long will leave far less positive legacies behind. Perhaps now is the time to put a cap on length of consecutive years served.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  3. tommie gibbons

    The question is really about term limits. The constitution had term limits built in in the form of elections. If the people of his state wanted him to serve for another 57, they should be entitled to that.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  4. Joan

    NO ! There should be two term limits for these selfish, self serving people. There are exceptions to the want for power and greed – however very few.
    When we listen to a couple of these Congressmen we have no idea what they are saying and I"m sure they don't know what they are stating.
    Joan B
    MN

    November 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  5. Mark

    Yes, it's great! We need more of our elderly nursing home residents in the Senate. Senior citizens are a valuabel resource to this country, but come on, Senator Byrd needs to be in a long term health care facility and everyone just looks the other way. As a teacher, how would parents feel if their kids showed up to a classroom led by a 92 year old teacher in a wheel chair who has partial dementia? Yeah, that's what I thought.

    Mark in OKC

    November 19, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  6. Richard Fairview, Texas

    Being a US Senator comes with a lot of power. Why should one person have so much power for 57 years and counting? One could claim part of the problem with America today is that politicians are allowed to remain in congress year after year. Some are bad and some are good but none the less they make their seat a life long career giving no one else a chance to do better then they did. Old ideas in an ever changing complex world can stifle progress. When you get a collective group of old ideas then as a country we become stagnated.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  7. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Great for him; terrible for us (the majority of U.S. citizens). No wonder little to nothing gets accomplished that is meaningful to our majority.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  8. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    No. I'm sure that he was a very competent senator in his day, but he is way past his prime and is nothing more than a figurehead now. Doesn't congress have term limits?

    November 19, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  9. Bud Rupert, Reston, VA

    No – No offense to State Rights but Their should be an amendment Passed that forces any federal employee to retire by 80. That's plenty fo time to screw things up royally

    November 19, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  10. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    I try to concentrate on the good things in life and the ineptness of our U.S. Congress to reform our health care system is not one of them. They are only giving meaning to a bumper sticker I saw a few years ago – "Save your country! Shoot a politician!"

    November 19, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  11. Lou from North Carolina

    I lived in his state for a while and nothing has changed. He only cares for his state. He brought a lot of jobs to West Virginia. He took care of his people and they didn't care how old, senile, or wasted he was. If we aren't going to have term limits some day, then mandatory retirement at 75. He is a shining example of what is wrong with the Senate today. Too many dinosaurs.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  12. Bud Rupert, Reston, VA

    It's not only a bad idea – it's stupid. They should limit all congressman and senators to one term only. That way maybe we would get vote's on bills that are in the best interest of the country and not what some strong armed special interest says back in thier districts. It's pathetic and rediculous!

    I know what Madison and Hamilton said in the Federalist Papers about term limits being a bad idea. I use to agree them – But not any more.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  13. Jerry B. Oklahoma City, OK

    It is sad really. I'm sure our founding fathers didn't envision people spending their lives in politics. This is part of the problem with our goverment now. The Congress and Senate need a 2 term limit, with NO ability for re-election, no retirement benefits and a maximum of 70,000/yr in salary.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  14. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    NO NO NO That is why they act like they are above the law.And they are. They get too strong and powerful. and too many crooked friends

    November 19, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  15. dl clrocker

    I'am sure he is a very nice person, but no one should be in a job unles they can put in 40 plus hours a week. No job should be forever, speaking of the supreme court justices. Incompetent and unreasonable people shuld not have life jobs.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    No it's not Jack. But we could replace all of the Senators and Congress persons and still have the same results because the lobbyists are running the show. Until we change the system it doesn't matter how long someone serves, they're all crooks without hearts.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  17. Eghosa Idukpaye

    Serving too long is not in my view advisable. This is simply because a 92year old congressman would have lost touch with the generation of people he is representing! He lacks the energy both menetally and physically to carry out the job.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  18. Joe in VA

    It is if you live in West Virginia.

    Chatham, VA

    November 19, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  19. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, absolutely not, and I am sure that he, personally, is totally ineffective as a Senator. Nothing more than a puppet that is carefully guided by his staff, 100% of the time. Wonder how long it took him to read the Health Care Reform bill? I'm sorry, but I have not met that many 92 year olds that can take care of their own daily requirements, much less be effective in a job that requires reviewing and understanding 2000 page bills for health, military, education, etc, funding. West Virginia can be proud of his service, but they need to get real.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  20. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    57 years? That's to long. The Constitution was ammended so that no one person could serve as President for more than two terms. There should be another Consitutional ammendment that sets term limits for Senate and Congress. One term for Senate and two terms for Congress. Then they are out. If a person was a Senator, they cannot turn around and run for Congress. If a person served in Congress, they can't turn around and run for Senate. Then maybe things would get done in Washington, D.C.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  21. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Do I think the guy should get a pat on the back because he sucessfully "played the game" for so long? NO! He should have been run out of town in the 40's. He says he regrets joining the KKKoneheads and voting against Civil Rights, but do we know how many lynchings he attended before it became politically inconvenient to do so?

    November 19, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  22. Bud Rupert, Reston, VA

    It's not only a bad idea. It's stupid as well.
    All Senators and Congressman should be limited to one term only. That includes the Presidency too. Maybe then we would get votes on bills that were in the country's best interest and not some strong armed special interest back in their districts and states.

    Madison and Hamilton both argued against term limits in the Federalist Papers and said it's a bad idea. I use to agree with them but not anymore.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  23. Carl D.

    Jack,
    No, No and Hell no!! When there in office that long, they learn easier and better ways to stop serving the public and better ways at stealing and lining there pockets, this man should of been gone 53 years ago.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  24. Jim in Alabama

    No Jack, it's not a good thing. First of all serving in the Senate should not be a career but rather for a limited time. Too many of them now are making careers out of so called public service, but it's turned into a "how much money can I get from special interests to get re-elected thing.and how can I line my pockets". When that happens, they become useless to those people who sent them to Washington in the first place. Secondly, it's only natural that time takes its toll on the human body and mind and these long termers are not as sharp mentally or physically as they need to be when considering crucial issues and policy decisions; They need to let younger people take the reigns without being carted out feet first. It's sad when stubborn, egotistical people have to be told "it's time to go."

    November 19, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  25. Carl D.

    Jack,
    No, No and Hell no!! When there in office that long, they learn easier and better ways to stop serving the public and better ways at stealing and lining there pockets, this man should of been gone 53 years ago. Term limits is our only hope, don't look for that to ever happen with these crooks in office.

    November 19, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  26. Ed

    I couldn't agree more about term limits and citizen governance, but how do we get there? A Constitutional Amendment would be necessary and that requires the cooperation of politicians whose self-interest usually trumps that of the country. And most politicians elected on a platform of term limits usually backslide. Good luck with this, Jack.

    Ed
    Texas

    November 19, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  27. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    No Jack I don't think it is. Our forefathers probably never thought someone can live that long, yet alone still be in the senate. I think senator Byrd was a good senator but should have retired a long time ago. Having term limits is one of the greatest ideas I ever heard of. It could solve so many problems such as elected Congress members working for the people and not working to get reelected. But just like West Virginia there are many districts and states who will keep voting for the same person or party no matter what. I cannot understand how someone who is in his nineties can even give a campaign speech without falling asleep in the middle of it.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  28. J W

    Maybe it was a good thing for West Virginia who for 57 years received untold and nationally funded roads to nowhere, bridges over nowhere, and jobs to nowhere at the expense of the rest of the nation. For the rest of us, we need some straight thinking in the legislative body these days and not some doddering pork barrell spending expert. Give him his accolades and pat him on the butt as he makes his gold plated exit.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  29. Terry - Brownsburg, Indiana

    Jack:

    We need term limits in Washington. The House should be limited to eight years, and the Senate limited to twelve years. Talk about carpet baggers.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  30. Simonsays/Orlando

    He is the poster child for term limitations.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  31. Tina Tx

    This is why term limits are long overdue.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  32. John from Alabama

    Jack: The Senator is a statesman. There are not to many of them in the senate. He has courage of his conviction and the ability to admit when he is wrong. There are to many ego's in the Senate to admit anything, because they are cowards. Health care reform is a prime example of a bunch of Democratic Senators who are cowards. They know health care reform should pass. All they want to do his get re-elected at any cost to the working poor in this country. Shame on them!!!

    November 19, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  33. Michael

    No! He is the poster boy for "Power Corrupts".

    November 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  34. Lucy

    There is something to be said about years of experience. Unfortunately, in the political realm, years of experience turn you into a better liar, manipulator, charmer, more power hungry, and corrupt. I feel sorry for any soul this guy once had.
    Lucy
    SF, CA

    November 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  35. Melissa

    Ahhh, so thats why the Republicans suddenly have a stick up their butt about term limits. I don't understand why there aren't limits already. Funny thing that it came when a Democrat Senator got the most days served and not when the Republicans did, don't you think? Kind of suspicious that they are freaking about it now when its existed since the country was founded, don't you think? But no, the Republicans wouldn't play these games now would they.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  36. Mr. D

    Let's hope he is the last of a breed. He has been around longer than the woodwork. It would be interesting to tally up all the "pork" he is gotten for his state over the years. It would probably pay off the national debt. I do, however, appreciate his civil discourse in the Senate. On that, he is the last of a breed.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  37. Tony from Southport

    Only if the mentally challenged should work for us. Term limits are the answer for America to get fresh ideas and lobbyists to get the boot.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  38. Marion/Alabama

    Senator Bryd ..will be the poster boy for term limits, Ted Kennedy should have gone long before he died, we need term limits not Senators known as the kings of pork.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  39. Mark, Worcester MA

    I find it incredibly disturbing that he not only has been there that long, but that someone else had been there almost as long. Long term politicians are not necessarily a problem, particularly in the Senate where the main goal the defeat of bad bills. However, no one get to 92 while still staying completely in touch with his constituents. The majority of people over 70 share certain opinions, as do the majority of the people under 18, and the people between any two ages. Being so many years from the majority of constituents shows an incredible likelihood for not sharing views with that same majority.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  40. Maria

    Just take a look at Senator Byrd and you have your answer.I don't think it's noble to hang on to a Senate seat for 57 years. Whatever he knew he's forgotten.

    Term limits are the only answer, or, as in the public sector of reality, mandatory retirement at 65.

    Bryd, and others have stayed too long at the dance.

    Maria

    Brunswick,MD

    November 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  41. Terry, Chandler AZ

    This is outrageous! We call him and all the others dedicated public servants. I don't think Thomas Jefferson and the boys would approve of people getting rich from a career in politics. 'Public servant' my butt! True public servants are trhose people who volenteer their time and efforts for the community, the county, the state.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  42. Karen, Idaho Falls

    No, it isn't a good thing for the country to have someone hang around that long. I guess we can be glad that he is still mentally competent unlike Strom Thurmond who slept through most of the Senate sessions for years.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  43. Greg, Ontario

    Sure he saved you a ton of money. If you had replaced him and everyone that came after him every 12 years you would be paying pensions to 4 or 5 exsenators. This way he works (if you can call it work) until he is ready for that big senate house in the sky and you pay the wage but very little pension money.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  44. Thom Richer

    It is absurd and obscene. It boggles my mind that he remains in office and that the people of Virginia actually are proud of voting him in office for 57 years. Not even God should serve more than 12 years and he is no God. It is ridiculous things like this that brings me closer and closer to believing that we, the American voters, deserve everything that our government has done to us. The only things I can compare to such ignorance in American politics by voters that comes close to such an unbelievable occurrence, is electing George W. Bush president., not just once but twice and actually considering Sarah Palin for vice-president.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    November 19, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  45. Linda Pollari

    I don't believe that it's been a good thing for Sen. Byrd to stay in office so long. If my understanding is correct, for one thing, his last few years have been marked by absenteeism due to illness. My sense is that he's certainly knowledgeable in the world of politics, but isn't it time to let someone else bring a fresh set of ideas to the table? I'm not saying he can't come up with new ideas, but I would guess a lot of the fresh thinking comes from the younger people around him – let them take their rightful place. Has the time for term limits come? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

    November 19, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  46. Helen

    Well Jack, it must be a pretty good gig to stay on that long. During these times I need a job like that, how do I get one?

    November 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  47. BOB WHITE, Kansas

    God knows, absolutely, "not" a good thing. Our government officials needs term limits: President? Of course. House and Senate? Absolutely.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  48. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    NO! Career politicians are just that...a career for themselves and only doing just enough to keep getting re-elected term after term...This is a great case for term limits. It should have been written into the Constitution to begin with and not provision to amend it at any time.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  49. Michael Alexandria, VA

    It's not for me to say. Last election his constituents renewed his contract for six more years. It really is up to them.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  50. mark pribble Anna Illinois

    Not really. I hope that is one record that will never be broke or tied. Talk about the need for term limits OMG!!

    November 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  51. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    I think we should be able to vote for whoever we want as many terms as we want. It should be up to the people. But then I also liked FDRs reign even though I didn't agree with everything he did.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  52. FreddMichigan

    How do you know what the founders of this country meant?

    Sen. Byrd has evidently met the expectations of the majority of West Virginians and they have elected and re-elected him over the years. The members of Congress are elected by their constituents to meet the needs of those same constituents. What don't you get about goverment of the people , for the people, by the people.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  53. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    What's wrong with that? That's awesome and amazing, Jack!

    November 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  54. Kyle Irvine, CA

    That sure is impressive Jack, but he voted against the Civil Rights Bill, President Bush's post 9/11 policies that protected this country, and oh ya he's a Democrat. The answer is no

    November 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  55. K

    perhaps most os the disfunction in Washington is the lack of term limits! no wonder there is no accountability.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  56. Melissa M

    While a desire to serve one's community for 57 years is certainly a good thing – we should all live lives in service to our communities – we need term limits in the House and Senate - just like we have term limits for the presidency and most other elected offices. Setting term limits would ensure that our representatives in Washington are close to the issues that concern their constituents.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  57. john .... marlton, nj

    He truly represents the change democrats bring to the table...

    November 19, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  58. Harry Havens

    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?

    Harry
    Millersburg, Ky.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  59. Vivian Fauntleroy, Largo MD

    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 have been in their seats so long that they don’t know how to do more than yield the floor to “my distinguished colleague.” Wisdom is nice, Jack, but when there is a marathon to be run, you need someone who can do more than tell you how they ran the course back in their day if you want to win the race.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  60. Dave , Munhall , Pa.

    At first blush Jack , I would say absolutely not , but then again he hasn't soldout 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, reguardless of what I think. I don't think you can find another politician that is so devote to his job and the people of his state in this modern world. Today's politicans only seem to run for office so that they can line up a better job a few years down the road. Today it's kind of like being in the minor league's until you hit the Big Time in the Major League's........LOBBYING the other freeloaders!!!!

    November 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  61. southerncousin

    I think it is absolutley disgraceful. And then these hypocritical libs, the same ones that ranted and raved about Trent Lott, are honoring this worthless old KKK leader. Kinda like Teddy Kennedy being honord by feminists after he killed that woman. So very liberal and so very hypocritical.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  62. Rusty - Hershey Economist

    Good for him, however he has been ineffective for some time, and needs someone else to represent his citizens!

    November 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  63. Ed from California

    "If" we had checks and balances that really worked it would be fine. Term limits in these times would be prudent. CNN reported that the lobbyists spent $240 million for the Health Care Bill. It makes you wonder who they work for? We elect them, and then they screw us. Makes you wonder!

    November 19, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  64. Johnny Chagdes (Los Angeles)

    Jack –

    That question should be geared towards the West Virginia populace. They have embraced him for that entire time and have had to live with the outcomes of his representation.

    Sometimes longevity can be good and other times bad ... what would have happened to Great Britain in WWII if they had already rid themselves of their aged wonderman ... Wintston Churchill?

    Although term limits are a concern ... representatives can always be voted out. You cannot blaim Robert Byrd ... he only had one vote and that is not enough to keep him in office.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  65. marlene

    While many people follow careers for 20, 30, 40, and yes even 50 years, many do not change views and/or opinions during that time. Whether Sen. Byrd served his constituents or not is for them to decide. I have long held that term limits on elected officials is a necessary change America needs. Marlene in Mich

    November 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  66. Matt, Michigan

    Term limits! 2 terms; one in congress the other in jail.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  67. Grant from Idaho

    Jack: The time for term limits has arrived. Although senator Byrd and others have had a long time in government, we need newer ideas and voices. The common complaint against term limits is the "loss off institutional history." From what we have seen the past twenty years or so, that history is not doing us any good and is likely doing some bad things. I think it is time for a constitutional amendment to send the legislators back home after they have done the ideas they first campaigned on that got them elected in the first place.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  68. Joe

    No, it is not a good thing. If congressman, and senators had term limits they would vote for what is right for their constituents as opposed to voting for the corporations who pay for their campaigns.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  69. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    If there ever was a case for term limits, here it is. Incumbents rule in the political world–and it's not always in our best interest. It's time for the Senator to retire.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  70. dan ward

    Having Byrd in the Senate for 57 years is ok. I am 61 and I have to admit I didn't have a clue who he was until about – oh – 30 years ago. However, having someone like Leibermann in the Senate for 57 years? God help us all. So I guess it really depends on who it is your talking about, eh?

    November 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  71. nancy menifee, ca

    i don't have a problem with senator byrd. he is one of the few who shows up in the senate DAILY. even if nothing is pending he is there working for the people of west virginia. and, in today's do nothing congress, that is quite a feat. in my book, he can stay as long as he likes.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  72. Frances, Birmingham, AL

    I believe there should be term limits on all eleced offices in the country – local, state, and federal.

    Here in Alabama we have term limits handled – when the politician is indicted, convicted, and carted off to jail, it's the end of his term in office.

    November 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  73. Linda in Florida

    Actually, it is pathetic!

    November 19, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  74. Stacy

    This should not have been left to happen. We need new blood. They should all be thrown out. Then we need to put term limits on all of Congress. Corruption needs to be tossed out. Let's throw them all out and start over, they are for the most part corrupt.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  75. Steve Batts

    Zebra's can not change their strips. He has a history o being out of touch with Americans, and it is time for new blood.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  76. Jackie in Dallas

    You know, Jack, it depends on the senator. Byrd really does need to retire - for his health, if for no other reason. But he has done an amazing thing in staying up to date and has had a remarkable record. Sure, our Founding Fathers did not envision career politicians, but neither was politics (or life) so complicated nor so immediate in their time. There wasn't instantaeous communications nor weapons that could destroy all life on earth.

    One of the things that made Senator Kennedy so effective was the friendships, knowledge and respect he had among the members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. He made a point of getting bi-partisan support for every bill he worked on. That took time and maturity in his position to accomplish. Term limits sound good, but have their down side when that experience is lost.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  77. Woody F. Blytheville AR

    No its not good for our republic, the former Klansman should have been gone along time ago...we need term limits.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  78. Linda in Arizona

    Better than strom thurmond for one. They will never, repeat never, pass a term limit bill. Term limits are for the little people.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  79. Mike

    Just think, If everybody worked until they were 100, our social security would never go broke!

    November 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  80. Alex in Seattle

    Sure, why not, Jack? He must serve the interests of his constituents or they would have voted him out long ago.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  81. Denis Duffy

    No, Jack, Byrd should have been sent back home to his coop decades ago. Doesn't say much for West Virginia, does it?

    Denis
    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  82. Joe

    No – it isn't. No matter how talented the leader, 57 years is ridiculous. Personally, I think there should be a 16 year limit in the House (8 terms) and an 18 year limit in the Senate (3 terms). That is PLENTY of time to develop (and benefit) from legislative/policy expertise. Senators like Mr. Byrd (and Strom Thurmond before him) should be standing aside much much sooner. The only reason they keep getting re-elected in Senate seniority (which equals Pork for the home state).

    November 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  83. Jeff Linder

    I can't believe Robert Byrd is even elligble to be a public servant due to his affiliation with a KKK group that he was a recruiter for..... Washington is broke and needs to have its house cleaned starting from the top down!!!!!!

    November 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  84. Mike from Denver

    It is impressive, but hardly commendable. Keeping the status quo in D.C. for this long should be avoided, not rewarded.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  85. ed

    The man is an invalid yet stills serves his own narrow interests at the expense of the exhausted taxpayer. A total disgrace. The very reason why we need term limits.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  86. Mike B from Florida

    Jack, its great this man has lived so long, and done so much for West Virginia, but is why we need term limits. His days of effectiveness had long since been gone. Duration does mean effectiveness.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  87. roy

    Sen. Byrd has served his state very well. He has spent a lot of time making sure his state got their share of public spending. He has also built up a lot political power. He needed it because his opponents have spent a lot of money to beat him. He has served long enough and now needs to move on, the only questiion is will the person who replaces him be the one who has the needs of his state in mind or the one with the most money.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  88. Cheryl Cococa, Fl

    I believe the problems lie more with the special interest groups who lobby these senators. I want to see the lobbyists put on severe restrictions regarding what they can do. No more free meals, vacations, and all the other things they are using to influence congressmen and women.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  89. william fitzwater

    If he is able & competent it is a gift that few have been able to experience.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  90. david doherty

    No! I think it's one of the most absurd thing about our government, and boy there are a lot of absurdities to pick from. I think that the fact that senators and congressman can serve for life, is why we have such a corrupt government! Why is there no term limit? Our founding fathers must have been drunk the day they over looked this error. It makes absolutely no sense what so-ever to let these bums stay in office until they become as corrrupt as the crook they sit next to.
    Dave from NH.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  91. Daryl Knowles Sr.

    I think it is time that we take the career politician out of our political process and limit the others the same way we do the president. Two terms, all senators and house members terms expire at the same time. Keep the politicians in their home districts and conduct the business of the government via the internet. Let them listen to the people who elected them not the special interest lobbiest. Maintain Washington only for special events, State of the Union, etc.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  92. A. Smith, Oregon

    Jack, if that Senator is a Democratic Senator the answer is a resounding YES!

    November 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  93. Melvin Walker, Jr. Springfield, MO

    I contend that it is a bad idea for one to "serve" for so long. I doubt that it takes very long for the elected individual to cease to serve his constituents and begin an active process of self-service.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  94. Albert K., from Los Angeles

    It's a good thing Jack, because when someone survives decades of heavy scrutiny from the other side in the Senate it is proof the people found a good apple. Since it is Republicans who push term limit legislation the most, and Democrates who brake records of most years served, that is proof of which Party has the most problem finding good apples and staying in office - Republicans.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  95. Steven Warden

    Drive through West Virginia and see the beautiful roads all over the place. Byrd got the lion's share of all transportation money because of his seniority. He has no fear of anyone since he has brought in so much money to West Virginia – he can tell the media to take a flying leap. No one else in government has that much power.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  96. DT from Fort Walton Beach, FL

    Hell no, but what can be done about it? These politicians dont care about serving the people but then again the people elect them in the first place. We get what we vote for...

    November 19, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  97. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    As you correctly pointed out, this was never the vision. Term limits are absolutely necessary to keep people from becoming so far removed from their constituents and their. I hope nobody in West Virginia bought the whole "John McCain is too old and close to death" line during the Presidential race. He was in Grammar school when Byrd started in Congress. how many people do you know in their 90's that are still so high functioning that they could be effective in Congress? Analyzing bills and interacting with their constituents?

    November 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  98. Jim El Paso Tx

    Over all Jack I'd say no....but I'd bet the folks from West Virginia would argue that point. 57 years and you can bring home a lot of bacon/pork.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  99. Ed - Rochester, NY

    Not even remotely. Terms should be singular but longer to make up for it; say 5 years in the house and 10 in the senate. Thus no lawmaker could spend more than 15 years in Congress. We would spend less on campaigns, we could have more confidence that lawmakers want to be there for the right reasons, and without re-election worries, lawmakers could concentrate on the People's business rather than worrying about the constant fundraising that taints the process.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  100. RJ from Lake,MI

    Hey Jack talk about abusing the system, here a reported one time KKK member served as a Democrat for way too long and now we are honoring him, only in America!

    November 19, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  101. Katja, Bradenton, Florida

    No, 57 years is way to long. If the Senators can't complete what they set out to do in 2 terms, 12 years, they should leave. Two words Jack,
    TERM LIMITS!!

    November 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  102. dick from indiana

    The Senate was a bad idea from the beginning. Giving small states an equal voice is hardly a government of the people. Since many in Congress want our teachers evaluated and paid on the basis of merit why don't do the same with our boys and girls in Washington. Surely faced with an objective system to prove their worth most of those in the beltway would hitail it out of town on the first lear jet.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  103. Cheryl

    No, I am sure they kept voting him in out of sheer name recognition. However, the reality is he lost touch with the problems real people face several decades ago. It served him well, but did it serve the people well?

    November 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  104. Cheryl

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    No, I am sure they kept voting him in out of sheer name recognition. However, the reality is he lost touch with the problems real people face several decades ago. It served him well, but did it serve the people well?
    Cheryl
    Houston

    November 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  105. John L.

    He should have been out of office 44 years and 320 days ago. After 12 years, every senator is in business for their own interests, not the interests of their constituents.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  106. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Probably not. But, if he was not serving he would be drawing a cushy pension with all the perks.
    Although voters are supposed to determine term limits we see many who do not have our interests at heart continually get re-elected.
    If we had six or eight year terms limits, would every politician be
    allowed pensions and perks they receive today? It would bankrupt our country.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  107. anthony...nj

    When a politician faces a term limit, they tend to work for the general good then their next election with some exceptions. They are less vulnerabe to special interests and more concerned about their legacy. Career poiticians have locked up their beneficiaries and constituents to the detriment of the rest of the country. In these times of ridiculous partisan squabbles, we shoud revisit the Constitution which never envisioned the absurdity of today's condition. Congress shoud never outast eleven presidents.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  108. Alan H

    Shame on the good people of West Virginia for repeating the same mistake for almost 57 years and running....

    November 19, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  109. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    West Virginia keeps sending back Senator Byrd because of the power he has collected and the pork they reap from the seniority he has acquired. My home district kept sending Representative Dan Flood back until he was caught in some scandel. People here would still vote for him even though he has long ago passed away because of the projects and money he brought home as Chairman of the Appropriations Committ. Remember,nobody does nothing for nothing! Institute term limits.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  110. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    It's a bad thing, a very bad thing. The lack of term limits is what breeds corruption, graft, greed and myriad other ailments in our political system. If the people of West Virginia really thought he was that good, they could have had him for Governor all these years.

    November 19, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  111. Kenneth Kohlmann

    Old Byrds never die, they just fade away. He's the reason that US voters are talking about term limits NOT life term limits. How much does he really understand about his constituents needs?

    November 19, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  112. Loren, Chicago

    God no. If he ever had any real understanding of the issues facing his constituents, he certainlty doesn't after 57 years in the cocoon of Congress. He hasn't worked for an employer in that time, hasn't had to make rent, hasn't had to be concerned about his health care, his children never experienced deteriorating public schools. What does he know about life as lived by his consituents? Nothing.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  113. Luke

    And how many of those recent days has Sen. Byrd spent in the hospital and out of any actual Congressional duties? I'm sure he's racked up a lot of sick leave over those 57 years, but this is getting rediculous.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  114. Brian

    Jack,

    Our Founding Fathers also never imagined how complicated the world is today. Do you honestly think a farmer could pack up his plow, run to D.C. for four years, write a 2,000 page tax code and then run back to his farm to continue working? Get real, bro. It takes career politicians just to get anything done. If we put term limits on Congress, they'll become just as ineffective as the President has become – spending six months every four years passing legislation and then the rest of the time is either campaigning for re-election or lost due to lame-duck status in their second term.

    Brian
    Boise, ID

    November 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  115. June

    NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Senator Bryd is a walking billboard for term limits. If not term limits we should at least put in a manditory retirement age. Does anyone really think Senator Byrd has been functiona,lfor the ten years or so? If you do see me about a bridge I have for sale.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  116. Bruce Marshall

    No Jack I don't and maybe it is time for mandatory retirement. Everyone else face's it.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  117. honestjohn in Vermont

    I think he should have stepped down 20 years ago at a young and chipper 72. No good reason congressmen/women should be in office for life. It's not a kingship...or is it? Well some behave like they are royalty.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  118. Robert Thomson

    We have term limits – its called an election and if we don't like the representation we're getting we can vote the scounderal out of office. Isn't that simple enough? In addition to elections we have a free press in this country and its the press' obligation to do investigative journalism and expose any wrong doing that the electorate ought to consider the next time they vote. Hey – I like that system and I dang sure don't want some nincomepoop trying to tell me that my representative has to go because he's served yea many terms in spite of the fact that I'm pleased with his service. That's the voter's choice – not somebody else's.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  119. Gary H. Boyd

    Jack - This fella set quite a record but also came to prove time limits are worth serious consideration. In recent years this fine man could hardly stand to speak upon the Senate floor. At some point reason and rationale judgment has to prevail. Hail and farewell but, enough is enough.

    Gary from Scottsdale, Arizona

    November 19, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  120. WWeeks NC

    NO, limit to 12 years.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  121. John Ca.

    Congress.org-Democratic Senator Robert Byrd is keeping America great!!! 7 years on the Senate floor is like having to jobs in a row.

    John Ca.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  122. Rory Murray

    Jack,
    No, he is a dottering relic. The best excuse for term limits I can think of. I wouldn't trust him with the remote control. He needs to go to the Old Senators Home.
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino, CA

    November 19, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  123. Mari Fernandez, Utah

    No Jack, there should be term limits.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  124. Gail, Plano,Texas

    Talking to the dead here, Jack. The deed is done. Byrd has already served 57 years. Way, way too long. But since there are no term limits and he is from W. Virginia this is what we get. No one I don't care who they are retains all of their thought processes as they age. Time for the aged senator to retire and give W. Virginia some new blood. Believe me, they need it.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  125. Jackie in Dallas

    You know, Jack, it depends on the senator. Byrd is at least staying up with the times.

    Sure, our Founding Fathers did not envision career politicians, but neither was politics (or life) so complicated nor so immediate in their time. There wasn't instantaeous communications or weapons that could destroy all life on earth.

    One of the things that made Senator Kennedy so effective was the friendships, knowledge and respect he had among the members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. He made a point of getting bi-partisan support for every bill he worked on. That took time and experience in his position to accomplish. Term limits sound good, but have their down side when that valuable experience is lost.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  126. TJ Tampa

    It shows why nothing gets done in Washington.. Why work when you can get paid for trying to protect your seat. These are professional politician whos number one job is taking lobbiest money and not doing anything for the people.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  127. dana lewis GA

    no, jack, i am not losing interest in the debate. i volunteer with organizing for america and make phone calls, every mon. wed and fri, to US constituents, garnering support for pres obama's plan for health care reform. this has been an exhausting and tedious process that has been undermined, from the beginning, by republicans and insurance companies. this process would be over and finished, if we had fewer corporatist politicians and zero lobbyists working to block this legislation. i am afraid, any meaningful legislation, that helps middle america, will always be battled with fistfuls of cash from our beloved, corporate america. whom want zero changes in the status quo. why should they? the american dream will never fail these selfish, ultra rich fatcats because they're all just one of the guys, whom owns the dream.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  128. Charles -NJ

    No. He has done some good things but term limits need to be enacted now. Two terms in the senate are plenty.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  129. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    Every six years the people of West Virgina voted him in he must have been doing something right. He voted for the war in Vietmam than 40 years he was one of a hand full of Senators to vote against Bushs war in Iraq some times one learns from ones mistakes

    November 19, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  130. Roy - Chicago

    Jack, why not make your question more general......how about TERM LIMITS for all elected officials, Democratic and Republican, senator or representative, etc. I live near Chicago, we have our Own situation here with ad infiniutum Mayor Daley

    November 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  131. Pat

    No. Term limits should have been in place from the beginning. I think the founding fathers thought that people would server fro a few years and leave. Too bad for us that the members of congress do not see it that way.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  132. Uncle Sam in Florida

    At some point Jack it gets kinda absurd. How well can a man of 92
    do his job? It's more about greed for money after this many years.
    Even the military makes you retire after so many years.
    Senator Byrd is a good example why term limits should be used for politicians.
    This also makes me wonder if the very same people in West Virginia are the same people that vote all the time.
    Is there no opposition in that state?????

    November 19, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  133. Mike S., New Orleans

    The voters always get the candidate they deserve. If they voted him in for 57 years, then he deserves the office and rights and privileges that go with it. Term limits would be undemocratic. Congratulations Mr. Byrd.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  134. Dave

    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.

    The problem is not the lack of term limits. It's the seniority system; whereby the oldest and most out-of-touch politicians are generally the ones wielding the greatest power. As career politicians become increasingly capable of "bringing home the bacon," they also become more entrenched in the quagmire that is Washington.

    Dave
    New York

    November 19, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  135. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Funny thing about life's cycle.

    I was in diapers when he began in congress, and he'll be in diapers when he finishes with congress.

    I guess it was a good thing for the diaper industry.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  136. Tom

    How do historians really know that our forefathers didn't invision so-called career politications. I know Jack that you must have been friends with some of those guys.
    So you know that they were older when they were elected. Some didn't even live 56 years.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  137. Sheila Angelini

    Gee Jack, who do you think knows more about what our forefathers wanted...you or someone who knew them!
    All kidding aside, I am a 56 year old grandmother and 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 in West Virginia and most of them would do whatever they could to help him.
    A good honest relationship between the people of a state and their representative is a rare and beautiful thing. Mind your manners Jack, don't go looking for dirt in a clean house.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  138. laughingcloud

    "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."

    I honestly feel there should be limits in terms. We limit most other seats, why not this one? If they did a good job, great....they will make an amazing mentor to someone else.

    Get in, make your impact, then continue to uplift by being a mentor. We all know water goes stale sitting in the same glass for a long time. Same goes for our political leaders. Let them rejoin the people the represented in their shoes again. We might just see a healthier country through fresher eyes who had great mentoring.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  139. Greg Hineman

    There isn't a job on this planet that allows you to do so little for so long.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  140. Andrea Sutton

    Senator Old Byrd? Lovingly stated, of course.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  141. Pete - Augusta Ga

    Jack –

    No, its just one more blemish on an out of touch branch of the federal government. No wonder used car salesmen, realtors & even sleezy lawyers are held in higher regard by the American people than Congress.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  142. Fred Marshe

    No, it is not a good idea! We need term limits but will never get them as Congress will not vote themselves out of their cushy prima donna positions.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  143. Kyle Kendall

    I don't think it is a good idea. I am for term limits. I believe that the reason we should push for this is that the founding fathers, as you mentioned on TV, had it right. If you become a 'career' politician you lose touch with your constituents and what is actually going on in the real world. You limit your knowledge to those reports that are usually paid for by special interest groups and not based on those people whom you are supposedly working for.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  144. Norris

    All I can say is I wished I had that kinda job security and so do probably millions of other workers, especially the ones that are currently unemployed.........don't ya think!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  145. Annie, Atlanta

    Depends on the Senator, and whether he's in it for the public service, like Senator Kennedy, or if he's in it for himself. Since I'm unaware of Senator Byrd, I hope you hear from some of the good people of WV.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  146. Merv Cook

    Senator Byrd is the perfect example of why we need term limits.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  147. Michael

    I believe that it is something great to devote your life to your country. I don't think term limits should be put in place. I feel a life long career is great, I think it's commendable to give yourself like that. Anyone who thinks term limits are necessary is just ridiculous.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  148. Don Howard

    Jack...Why does a person have to be the arbitrary age of 35 to be President, but it's ok to run for the senate at 60, 70, 80, 90? Byrd is also third in succession (right behind Pelosi). He is practically incoherent. Enough is enough. He is the "King Of Pork", and WVA is still one of our poorest states. You would think the folks there would want some Fresh Blood. I guess Not.

    Don Howard
    Newtown, PA

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  149. Sean B

    Yes. It's ridiculous that this near century-old man in poor health is in Congress. At that age in that condition, how many people could make informed decisions?

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  150. Eisa

    Jack,

    This guy and Ghadafi of Libya should be friends, they love the power and did some horrible mistakes in their lives but they stil there. No wonder if the US is declining .

    Eisa

    Harrisburg, PA

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  151. Frank B Smith

    It seems to me that if the people want to have someone as their Senator or Representative, they should not be denied that choice. If the people of West Virginia didn't like Byrd, he'd have been gone long ago.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  152. Ben

    Tom, because they said so. Read the writings of the founders, or remain silent on the subject of them. They were quite prolific in their writings. May I suggest you start with The Federalist Papers.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  153. Ayo, Texas

    good thing he is there.if he's been there that long it means he was present all these years the senate has made good and bad choices.. he is obviously a walking encyclopedia of everything that is wrong or right with the senate.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  154. Paris Pepoon

    NO! I believe part of our problem is politicians being in too long. I hope he did a lot of good things, but no one should be in this long. I also believe that the Presidency should be one term 6 years, that way they will have enough time to do something good and not worry about running again for office. I also think the Senators should only be allowed to serve no more than 10 years, period.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  155. Alex

    Well if he has never lost and election and has been serving for so long he must be doing something right.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  156. Birddog in Mississippi

    The voters ultimately decide who stays and who goes. If you had term limits of say two terms, the congressperson serving his or her second term would have no accountability to the voters of his or her district. If you don't like your congressperson, then get up off your butt and go out and vote for somebody else.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  157. Pat

    Jack, this is what they make retirement for! How can someone represent the people when he hasn't been part of the real world in 57 years?!

    Change is a good thing!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  158. patrick

    No, i think that they should serve a few terms and move on. allowing them to permanently sit allows them to work for money rather than the people.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  159. Dan Z

    A good thing? No, the guy hasn't had a real job in 57 years.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  160. David A Whitaker

    Heck no Jack, he should of being out on the farm long time ago. This is one of the problems, the same people stay in congress or a senate to dog gone long. So you get the same old ideas being recycled, now jack I did vote for the old guy, but I really didn't have any choice.

    David

    Martinsburg, WV

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  161. gary duncan

    I find it completely discouraging that Congressmen and Senators serve for such long periods of time. They have become a privileged class to the point where it is similar to the House of Lords, with sons succeeding fathers or wives succeeding husbands. Of course, I blame the people from their districts and states for not being interested enough to choose someone with new ideas rather than sticking with the familiar face.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  162. Barbara in NC

    Jack – he's a better Senator than Strom Thurmond was (at least he has admitted his mistakes and not hidden an illigitmate black baby).

    He has kinda overstayed, tho. Maybe he lives only for his job? How refreshing – someone loves their job after only 57 years.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  163. Bernie Raleigh NC

    Jack.........NO WAY.... they guy can hardly stand up.....I think it is
    rediculous to have a senator in office for 57 years.............

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  164. Larry Friedman

    Double "hell" no! It is incredulous to me that senators and congressmen will protect their own re-elections rather than care for the good of the country. Maybe we could get some beneficial results if the bums had to leave because of term limits.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  165. Ron Furgerson

    It is said that power corrupts. While that old saw may not be absolutely true, there is much wisdom in it. Some form of term limits would be a huge improvement. If it makes sense for the president, why not for senators and representatives?

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  166. Jordan H.

    No. The simple truth.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  167. THOMAS C AMBROSIA

    11.19.09
    Carteer Politicians ARE THE PROBLEM with USA and Majority of the States.
    Our forefathers never thought for a minute we would have men and women in office all of or close to all of their lives.
    Sen Byrd, Arlen Specter et al need to go away but the dummies keep voting these men and women in office.
    I am sure our forefathers would have written in term limits for every office and every judge.
    Appears the only way USA will ever come back to the people is if, Lord forbid, others who have more guts than me, elimiate the problem in all branches of government. Just do us a favor come and do the same in all levels of PA government.
    Voters who vote keep voting the same crooks and incompetents in office so no one new has any chance.
    Those who do not vote or just as bad the morons who keep voting Bryd, Specter back in every cycle.
    America land of the STUPID

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  168. Nabaraj KC

    This is great honor to congratulate him as serving the country he love more than half century and still moving ahead. Congtratulation him again.

    Nabaraj KC
    New York

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  169. Ron Jones

    It is a perversion of our system to have senators and congressmen like Sen. Byrd serve for 50+ years. Entrenched pols have ruined the political process as it is nearly impossible to beat incumbents (see Callifornia!). How much money has he directed to West Virginia that rightfully should have gone to other states, or not spent at all? Term limits are the only way to end this debacle.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  170. mike

    I beleive that term lmits will save our country. Those elected who understand that there service will end, will not worry about relection but will make decisions and cast votes based on the merit of legislation as oppposed to whether thier decisions cost them votes

    November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  171. Bob Cullen

    Yes Jack. It is fine for Sen. Byrd to have served all 57 years – and then some. We the voters are the best form of term limits.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  172. Ed

    57 years in the Senate a good thing? For some very special people, yes. For most serving now......have mercy on us, retire early and soon!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  173. Judi Ward

    I do not think anyone in the Congress or Senate should serve more than 4 years. This is definitely part of the problem in Washington: Too many people serving which leads to too many involved in politics on important issues based on who feeds their pockets!!!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  174. Stephen

    We have term limits on legislators in Michigan, and yet we still have gridlock on issues.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  175. Tom Parkersburg WV

    In general I believe in term limits. However I have to say Senator Byrd is one of the old school gentlemen who used to be Senators. Men like Moynahan and Dole. I voted for Senator Byrd and I am a hard core Republican. We are much worse off today without these honest men of integrity. Party ideaology has replaced intellegent reflection. Senator Byrd is the last of these gentlemen statesmen and we will be diminished with his passing. We will not see his like again.
    Tom Parkersburg WV

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  176. Karl from SF, CA

    As a Democrat, in this particular case, I should probably be thrilled but I wonder if when the founding fathers said Representatives serve two year terms and Senators serve six year terms they meant to say ONE two year orONE six year term only. You know the term limits that will never be enacted now. 57 years is way too long for anyone. By their second term in Washington they have no clue what the real world is like.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  177. Byron D Walker

    Its absurd and rediculous,we definately need term limits.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  178. Brent Ashcroft

    Jack,
    Senator Byrd is a joke and the people of West Virginia should be ashamed. He can barely hold up his arm when he chooses to try to shake his fist let alone make an intelligent decision. It shows you where this country has been heading the past few years when a person who should be in a rest home is making our laws.
    Brent from Idaho

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  179. Robbie Minnesota

    Jack this is insane. Keeping people isolated from the rest of the world for so long promotes insanity. It's like colonial times, when the governing become so removed from society by having so many people under them, they lose touch with the human condition. They lose heart, no matter what they say. It's their addiction. Give this guy a minimum wage job and let's see him live like the rest of us.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  180. Allan Hanson Placerville,Ca

    I don't think he has been "all here" for many years. I don't know what the West Virginians were thinking, seniority has many benefits such as returning money to your district. This seems to be the reason he has been returned. It certainly is not a reason to return anyone to Congress.
    I

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  181. Timothy St. Petersburg Florida

    Of course, this is a bad thing. People can change their views over time and "see the light". However, the fact that we actually have someone in a position of leader ship who was member of the Klan is nothing short of insulting. Whether or not Byrd actually reformed his racist ideas later in life is irrelevant. Simply having been associated with such a tyranical and radical group should have pulled his judgment into heavy questioning a long time ago. We need to move into the future. Hangers on like this career politician is simply another example of a broken system that needs to be at least shuffled and stirred every few years to avoid this kind of stagnation in thought and progressive ideals.

    thank you.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  182. james in Idaho

    Jack,
    While a career politician on it's name is a frightening thing, I would be interested in knowing how many days he actually put in work in the congress. If he was there, to the tune of day in and day out fighting, debating, agreeing and putting forward on behalf of the people of his state with honor and distinction, then we should all be so lucky in our choice of politicians.

    I am a HUGE advocate of reasonable terms limits [say, no longer than ten years, no matter how successful you are], but it's nice to see that someone can go through so many years in such a convoluted place, and still manage to both keep his marbles, and still be able to use them. Add to that his personal recognition that his old affiliations were destructive and evil, and you have a really interesting biography that even a guy like me wouldn't mind reading.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  183. Bill

    57 years is way too long for anyone to serve in a legislative position. It gives too much time to establish deep cronie-ism and figure ways to bend the system to your benefit. ALL political positions should be limited to a short period of time. The only good thing about serving 57 years is that he really earned his pension and health benefits.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  184. Marc Eisner

    Didn't John Adams server most of his life in public service for the government? Sure, it wasn't in just one office, but the assertion that the founders envisioned serving in office for a bit, "then returning to the farms" isn't quite right either. And he wasn't alone in the history of the US, of individuals moving from the House to the Senate to the Presidency to the Supreme Court to Ambasador to another position, all over the place.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  185. Catherine of Easley, S.C.

    Not too articulate: No I do not think it's a good thing. We need some fresh blood. Government has way too much POWER. If they stay in office too long, they tend to allow power to go to their heads. And this is exactly what's wrong with my country, America, today.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  186. Lisa in Springfield, IL

    They have term limits for the President. They should have the same for congress. Eight years max. That's plenty of time for one person to screw things up for the next! Unfortunately, the people (the congress) who are opposed are the ones who can change it...oh wait a minute, I guess I as a voter could! But then again just because they campaign for it sure doesn't mean that's what will happen when they get in! That's been proven time & time again. It sometimes seem we're doomed by our own hand. Crap.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  187. Larry C

    Emphatically NO! Term limits appy to almost every political office except the Federal Legislature & our own here in Hawaii! Re-elect No One! That will go a long way toward campaign reform & more sensibility in government. Elected officials would be more willing to cast their votes to support their benefit of their conituents rather than support their re-election.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  188. T. Murphy Louisville KY

    57 years is far to long. Term limits are a MUST. Without them there will continue to be corruption, and abuse of power within government. Also the should be an age limit for senate and congress. No offense but 95% of white men over 60 are out of touch with reality, and needs for the future!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  189. Lee

    No I do not think that is what the founders of this country envisioned. Until there are term limits, there will never be any true change in Washington or government. I am just wondering how many in Congress will support Sen. Demints bills to have term limits. I say zero because they will then have to find real jobs, like all other Americans.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  190. Ken E. - Wisconsin

    Absolutely not. After 57 years inside the Beltline, how could anyone say they are "in touch" with their constituents? They don't face the everyday situations in a normal American family.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  191. Grumpa

    Two terms and out, that should be the law. These guy's are simply used car salesman trying to sell us the goods over and over again. Out the door in two!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  192. Tony

    Kudos to Sen Byrd for his work. However, there needs to be term limits in all levels of governments, not just presidents.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  193. Cynthia Oomen

    No, politicians should not make a way of life in the government. It seems it is ruining ours. There should be term limits just like the president.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  194. Adrian Gillem of the Virgin Islands

    Its a splendid thing to know that an individual can handle the political nonsense that surges through the halls of Congress each day for a long period of time! Senator Byrd, though I have no personal knowledge of him, probably has been a great asset to his state. How can he not be? He has been there for more than fifty years! However, I would still go with the original plan our forefathers wanted; implement term limits so others can partake in the grand political joke known as Congress.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  195. T Thomas in Abilene Tx.

    With all due respect to Senator Byrd, I think there should be a limit on termsWhy not two terms for Senators and six terms for the House.After all we don't want to lose all experience in Congress by being too draconian-although the way this bunch has been acting all year-maybe we do.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  196. Karen Shumway

    How many times have we heard candidates avow that they will not serve more than "x" number of terms only to reneg after they find out how lucrative the power & perks are when they arrive in Washington as "public servants." We limit the term of our President, for good reason; and should definitely do so for Congress as well. It would seem that once elected, the only priority for Congress is building an adequate campaign war chest for reelection–the hell with legislation. Once again, the almighty buck prevails!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  197. Chris in southern Indiana

    We have term limits, they're called elections. No one is elected for life. Byrd has been up for reelection every 6 years since he joined the Senate. If the good people of West Virginia wanted a new Senator, they can elect one.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  198. tom

    It could be said the same of families who are in politics. They may not stay in the senate for 57 years but to have a father who was president and two sons who are/were Governors and one which was president is pretty bad to.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  199. Blane - missouri

    term limits are very long overdue ,I dought if senator Byrd knows or understands what the senate or congress is doing theese days.
    All of congress has no idea what it is doing theese days, along with the president . Snow white and the seven dwarfs could run this country better then they are. god help america,we need it.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  200. bob schmidt

    Jack, Term limits for sure, probably age limits as well not to mention periodic psychological stress testing every couple years. Bob Santa CA

    November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  201. Betty

    It's time to get rid of all those old farts in Washington, period. No one should be serving that long. Get new blood and people who can think for themselves in the Congress and say good by to the good ole boys club. I didn't know that Byrd was a member of the Klan, but him saying it was a "mistake" to be part of that is like a murderer saying he has found Jesus and he's sorry while serving a life sentence.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  202. shakeeb

    absolutely not, the longer they stay in power the harder it is to reform anything in this country. they should have terms just like a president .

    thanks

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  203. Samuel - West Lawn, PA

    Is it a good thing that he's had 57 years worth of lobbyists and corrupt politicians eroding any morals he had when he first entered office? Is this some kind of joke? Term limits for congressmen need to be introduced, and we need them sooner rather than later. Sadly you, me, and the audience all know it will be a cold day in hell before we see them.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  204. Susan Scott

    It's a one-word answer – SHAMEFUL!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  205. Rosalie Shoafstall Az

    What supprised me he served 57 years and it showed it totaled out to 320 days. what a deal. There is 365 days in one year.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  206. Bruce Schnell

    In Refererence to this Senator one might ask, does he stll run his horse and buggy on kerosene, does he still use an abbycus, and adding machine, does he even know what a computer is ?? it realy time to plug in his JAZZY, and move over, so the younger can pass

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  207. Ike

    This is rediculous, I guess he is the only perosn fit for that job from Virginia.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  208. James Petrilla

    No, I think it's a horrible thing. If someone does a good job during their term, their model should be followed by their sucessor, but allowing someone to remain in a seat opens the doors to unjust power disputes and under the table deals

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  209. Jane

    Has anyone counted the days the failing senator has actually attended Senate business ? Or the # of days he has spent in Walter Reed - collecting his astronomical salary, while at the same time running up MORE health care than ANY normal citizen would have access to in a lifetime ? There needs to be a age limit, if they will never vote on Term Limits. 92 is beyond being useful in most businesses.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  210. Jim

    Why should they not. They vote themselves pay raises, have the best healthcare, get to spend our money on their personal pet projects, travel the world on big jets and to exotic places at our expense and most of all, don't have to respond to their consituents. Could be the best job in the world.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  211. ann dwyer

    We should have six year terms for both the house of representatives and the senate as well as the presidency. Elections can be held every three years with half going up for re-election. Then maybe, just maybe, are elected representatives would put the people first and quit worrying whether their vote will hurt their re-election. Also, limit their stay to only two or three terms. This would save a lot of money as well.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  212. Tim in Texas

    Did you see all those people lined up on the streets for Ted Kennedy? They were out there because for years and years and years he fought for them. Who has the right to take our right to vote for the candidate of our choice away from us?

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  213. Ayo, Texas

    who cares if he's been there for 100years.what counts is if he is crappy at his job or too old to do it well. if the people of west Virginia keep voting him in....they decide whatever kind of representative they get. the people deserve the leaders they pick.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  214. stefi b

    As usual, I couldn't agree with you more, Jack.

    Todays CNN picture of Senator Byrd says it all. He was far too old to be representing the people....a long time ago.

    I'm not saying he's not a nice guy. Just far too old.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  215. G Fugate

    Without regard to party affiliation, it is not in the best interest of the United States for us to have to vote year after year for career politicians. My best guess is that politicians now run for office just to get a high paying job and the resultant "Golden Parachute." We are not served well by Congressmen and Congresswomen, who basically live in Washington D.C. and are no longer are in touch with "the People."

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  216. Albert Bair

    No, He has become nothing but a rubber stamp.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  217. Irene Radke

    Congratulations to Senator Byrd! Jack, we already have term limits: it's called elections. If the citizens of West Virginia want to limit the Senator's number of terms, all they need to do is to vote for someone else. It's called democracy.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  218. Kendy

    No it's not. Career politicians make for stale policy. If terms were limited they would certainly be more inclined to move a little faster on issues.
    I also think they should not be able to campaign more than 6 months ahead of the election. They need to be "A.I.S"....(arse in seat) getting work done!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  219. T. Murphy Louisville KY

    57 years is far to long. Term limits are a MUST. Without them there will continue to be corruption, and abuse of power within government. Also the should be an age limit for senate and congress. No offense but 95% of white men over 60 are out of touch with reality, and have not idea of our needs for the future!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  220. Mark

    Jack,

    YES! It's great that this man has chosen to serve his country for most of his lifetime.

    We have term limits. They are called elections. We CAN vote them out at any time in their career.

    Term limits in Michigan has filled both chambers with inexperience. By the time legislators learn their job we force them to leave and bring in a new bunch of inexperienced politicians.

    When seasoned veteran politicians take months to try to get a health care bill passed, how long do you think that it would take for a group of "rookies" to get the job done?

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  221. Larry McD

    I believe in term limits but not the kind of insanity California passed.. with a couple of terms and you're out. All that has led to is government even MORE by lobbyist because the lobbyists are there for decades while legislators come and go like leaves in season.

    A better idea was proposed during Johnson's administration with Congress members restricted to 5 Four Year terms and Senators elected for 3 six year terms. The president would have been restricted to a single six year term.

    As far as the "Founding Fathers" are concerned – keep in mind that Senators have only been elected by the public since 1913.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  222. Joshua Webb

    I think that the congressman who has spent 57 years in his seat is a noble thing. I also feel it says a lot about our system and how things need to change. How can we make progress without modern ideas and fresh opinions?

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  223. Bob in Beijing

    It's not a good thing. We have term limited the presidency. Surely we would be wise to term limit Congress and the Senate to prevent doddering old fools like Byrd and before him Strom Thurman from being re-elected ad nauseum.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  224. Tom Donahue

    How can we expect congress to do what's best for our country when it's against their own self-interest?

    They should enact term limits for all cogressmen and grandfather current incumbants so they can continue to serve for as long as they are re-elected. Our founding fathers had the right idea. In a democracy we shouldn't have career politicians.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  225. Jerry Holloway

    I'm disgusted with anyone in Congress that spends more than 8 years serving the country; any time spent after that is to serve themselves and not the country!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  226. Larry

    Can't we just take a breath and enjoy sometimes?
    Mr. Byrd didn't make the rules of the Senate or life.
    Why not congratulate and respect him, instead of
    trying to turn his milestone into a populist political
    question? Go on, Mr. Byrd!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  227. John Beck

    Term limits clear out the political deadwood and the great public servants equally. What they leave is permanent corporate lobbying organizations, cycling back and forth into legislative staff positions, so that while the public thinks they are electing representatives, it's all a show. All term limits should be repealed.

    Chilmark, MA

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  228. Craig

    Jack,

    As there are no consecutive term limits for members of Congress and they have every right to serve such longevity, I do believe it is a good thing that an elected official can serve that long in Congress, but only if he/she do good things while they are in office!

    Craig S.
    Hampton, VA

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  229. Gwyn Universal City TX

    Jack
    You are so right about people spending their entire adult life in Congress. And as they spend more time on Capitol Hil the farther they get from those they are supposed to be representing. We really need some kind of term limits.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  230. Ken Daniels

    Absolutely absurd for anyone to serve 56 years. What time does he and the people of W. Va. wake up?? Two terms and get out!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  231. james king

    If you want to be a public servant for life: become a policeman, or a fireman. The Founding Fathers did not see the political arena as a carreer homepage. Members of Congress should come , serve, and then go home, allowing someone else top serve.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  232. Mike Youssef

    No, it is not a good thing. 57yrs representing the state says that WV does not have another good man!

    Term limits should be imposed so that other good americans can serve.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  233. ron Eichhorn

    Working this long in the Gov't aka The PUZZLE PALACE, Senator Bryd does not have a clue as to what is going on in the real world.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  234. Jim Martin

    There is no doubt that we need term limits at every level in government. Our elected representatives forget why they are there. Their focus becomes getting reelected and taking the path of least resistance instead of doing what is necessary and hard.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  235. willie

    It's this very thing that has eroded our country down to where it is now.every american needs to know that this government was made for the people and that everyday ordinary citizen -out there now- who could do the job better many times over.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  236. Ann

    Cafferty you crack me up. Spreading love all over the Congressman who spoke before you after he spread his love all over the media. Jeez what a show.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  237. Wayne McLucas

    It seems silly to think it's good. He is so old that I don't believe his thought process is even in touch with today reality. How is it possible that the President can only do 8 years, but the senator can do it till he dies. What every happened to fresh blood for FRESH thinking. Doesn't That come under the need for CHANGE!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  238. Harvey Engelhardt

    Not only do I believe it is not good for our political process, but I believe it is unethical for someone to live off the political system for that many years. It does not take much intellect to realize that we would all benefit with term limits on the senate and house as well as somehow returning the vote of important matters to the individual citizens rather than the fat political cats. Just imagine if the lobbyists had to buy all 200 million of our votes.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  239. Jeffrey Geez

    No, and then no again, there has to be a term limit. There is a term limit on the office of the President for good reason, What exactly is the difference?

    I view these men , mostly men , and their suits from the 195Os. They have no clue about anyting that is going on today. NO CLUE.They live in the past, a form of ignorance.

    Just quote the constitution and that is all there is to that. Figure it out Jack. i am sure you already did. Now say it.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  240. George in CA

    As you pointed out, Senator Bird voted the feelings of those who elected him, and those feelings have changed over time. Mr. Bird also changed over time to continue reflecting the will of those who elected him.

    You need to look more at the comments from those who have experienced term limits. Specifically, I recall comments from Michigangers and Californians on a recent question about term limits They said term limits didn't help their states .

    In other words, the idea of term limits is too simple and naive to be a solution to the problem that most voters are too set in their ways to consider changing political parties, no matter who is the party choice.

    The real answer is probably a strong multi-party system (not two party system), but that won't happen, either.

    George

    November 19, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  241. Miroslav

    One of the many things that make the United States the great nation it is the stability of her democracy. Sentiments should have no place in nation building, the voters should be left to decide please. Have term limits in other countries yielded any better results?

    Miroslav, Russia.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  242. Timothy Steger

    Absolutely not, 3 terms for the house, two for the senate is sufficient. Living in the Washington bubble too long leads to the current disconnect from the average American. Fairly obvious with the current state of the economy, and the never ending increase in taxes, or trying to pass a government run medical system, one which they will not have to use. You cannot manage your personal finances this way, what makes people think it is o.k. for the government to manage our affairs this way.

    Semper Fi,
    Tim

    November 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  243. Stephen Cornelius

    Without term limits the politicians are at the mercy of the special interest groups. It is so easy for these groups to destroy a career if the politician does not do what they want. With special interest groups obliging every politician to choose between extremes the centre is left without a voice, but the centre is where most people live, so the majority vote in a politician that can't properly represent them without losing the next election. How many times have people fallen for this when voting for just this one man?

    November 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  244. Luis- Bronx, NY

    American Ideology is constantly evolving. Keeping elected officials for such a long time lead to inefficient leaders. You can teach someone a new trick but you can not change their mentality. Congress man like Mr. Byrd are not only a liability but dangerous to fruitful American progress

    November 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  245. Don Gugliuzza

    Most members of Congress forget what the people want after their first drink of water as a member of Congress. I can't imagine where a Senator's head might be after 57 years. No, it's not a good thing to serve that long. I can only assume that his constituents buy preprinted ballots so they don't have to think about what they're doing at the polls and what he's doing in Washington, D.C. Apparently term limits provided by the ballot box don't work. Let's get real term limits as they exist in Illinois.Six years in Congress and six years in prison. (By the way, I am a native of Illinois.)

    November 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  246. ole grizz

    Good thing for Byrd - cushy life, good benefits. Good thing for West Virginia - You betcha. Good thing for country - mighty doubtful.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  247. bill

    How much money has he made as a public servant working for lobbyist for 57 years? We need term limits and campaign reform!!!!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  248. Layne Alleman

    Jack, No, not consecutive anyway. Here in Illinois, that kind of thing has been going on forever, and it shows. Ex-Rep. Phil Crane (from my district), got so loopy by the end of his "career", he was openly traveling the world on money he was suppose to be bringing back to his district (he never apologized for it either, instead saying he was "owed" it for all his years of "service"). Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  249. Tk

    How can we the people get term limits for the House, when they have the power? The power club on the Hill needs some new members, with limits on their self promoting and self interest benefits.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  250. Wayne in Leitchfield, KY

    I've been hearing your argument, that the founding fathers never intended for politicians to be there for a career, all of my long life. That's true and, yes, that's the problem. But we the people get what we ask for. Those that have will continue to get more, and those that don't have much will continue to get less. The haves vote; its that simple. The politicians are merely representing their constituencies – those that vote in elections. Congress doesn't cast their votes in the interest of the larger good, only the interests of those that put them there.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  251. Derrick

    This man can barely stand on his own. Lets be real here. Term limits is not the issue. The issue is, can a 92 year old man make the important decision of these tough days we face. There should be a mandatory retirement age. The decisions are to important.

    Baltimore

    November 19, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  252. tom/jan

    We think that the terms limits for senators and congressmen should be limited to two consecutive terms just like the presidents. The founding fathers didn't limit the president when they wrote the constitution but we changed it. The same needs to be done for the senate and congress times change and we need to to the same but who is going to vote themselves out of a job even if it would be good for the country.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  253. Young Republi"I-can"

    In the beginning, none of our fore fathers had the notion of excess control of the nation’s political arena, our fore fathers did not abuse the political arena, or term limits. This is one of the reasons of the new ideology, limited politics, and not political monopolies.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  254. Paul Shelby Ramasgos

    No it is not....our government would have us believe that the positions they hold require great experience and education, when in fact the system was set up so that the everyday person could participate.
    the experience required is living day to day in the USA, experiencing the the struggle, hopes , accomplishments of the everyday man. This is the disconnect that "no term limits" perpetrates.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  255. Beth Gorman

    Term limits should be set as our forefather intended. Politicians should serve two terms like our governors and president.

    Politicians may go into office with good intentions, but it seems they all come out dishonest.

    Power turns them greedy and stupid. Just take a good look at what we have now in DC.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  256. Torian Murphy, Louisville KY

    Term limits are a must, as are age limits. They both allow corruption and abuse of power. Not to mention that 80% of white men over 55 are out of touch with reality, nor do they know what's best for this generation or future generations. Just look at the republican party as whole!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  257. Rob

    Term limits are critical. With a seniority system in congress, the longer that a senator or congressman serves, the more individial power they accumulate. Therefore their State has more legislative power than other States. For example, West Virginia (through Sen. Robert Byrd) has more senatorial power than a State with a newly elected freshman senator. This is why incumbents are re-elected for decades. The same holds for the House of Representatives. Such an imbalance of representative power between the States was not intended by the Constitution. In fact, quite the opposite was intended when two Houses of Congress were created instead of one. We either need term limits or elimination of the seniority system.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  258. Bill Fierro

    Absolutely not! When was the last time Senator Byrd brought a creative thought to the table? The political machine he's built over decades would re-elect him even after he passed away. Is Senator Byrd, or all those in the Senate with over three terms, contributors to 'change or reform?" HaHa!

    November 19, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  259. John

    Your statistics on the Senator missed one. How much pork did he suck out of our pockets over all those years? Bet it would more than adequately fund healthcare for years.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  260. Austin

    Tough question Jack. I'll call Mr. Cheney and ask what his relatives think.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  261. Jim

    Jack, If all United States Senators were as benificial to their state as Senator Byrd has been to WV, You would probably find alot more Career Senators. Maybe some one needs look alittle more closly at the Senate these days, Senator Byrd seems to have some hopeful followers in the Career Senator Department.

    Jim in WV

    November 19, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  262. Ann Richmond

    I think we should be proud as a country that we have the best congressmen money can buy. Oh wait, this wasn't a joke? Totally crazy, we should have term limits and not life time congressmen. This includes the states.

    thanks
    Ann

    November 19, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  263. Norm

    If we had term limits, our representatives probably wouldn't have time to cook up some of the over-burdensome laws that currently plague our nation. Without term limits, the consituency looses control.

    Currently, legislative leaders are able to develop and oversee longterm plans to over-regulate and then they can ram those plans down our throats.

    Twelve years in congress should be the limit. Four years longer than the president may serve. That would give them fours years to try and undo any damage a president might do.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  264. Jason Keeling

    Significant challenges arise when considering career politicians, because their decisions tend to be heavily influenced by lobbying interests. In the Mountain State, it's well know that "Big Coal" players throw their weight around with the most entrenched public officials, who subsequently kowtow to industry's every whim.

    November 19, 2009 at 7:41 pm |