By Ralph Hipp
In the wake of last year's death of Ted Kennedy, now comes the passing Sunday night of the 92 year old ultimate lion of the U.S. Senate, Robert Byrd of West Virginia. It was painful to see him debate in his final years, but whoa, when he was in his prime, he was something. Whether it was his recitation of stories from the Peloponesian Wars, or playing a fiddle for his fans.. this guy was not the pressed suit, politically correct politician who came from a privileged background to sit in the most exclusive club in America. There is another reason why we will never see his likes again.
Here's a Senator who served during the final two years of the Eisenhower White House, all the way through the first two years of the Obama Administration. So we're talking all of Kennedy, all of Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan, too. Along with both Bushes and Bill Clinton in the middle. Now that Senator Byrd is gone, many critics of endless Senate terms and indisputable Senate power say it's time for voters to seal "term limits" into the contracts of our nation's leaders. After Byrd's astounding 52 years, I would venture to say there's no way anyone could be elected to nine Senate terms again, in the political world we live in today. I am also VERY interested in seeing how West Virginia voters will work through the process of attempting to replace this political giant, and which party will claim Byrd's seat.
Sam Brownback, himself a longtime proponent of term limits for Senators, is busy with his own race to fulfill his promise of getting out of Washington and letting someone serve in that seat. Let's see if the movement of the new world order of politics will make sure that as colorful and as powerful as we was, it would be against the law for someone to serve that long in the Senate again.