You’re 81 years old. Your mental and physical acuity is declining. You’ve been doing the same job since 1975 — nearly 50 years. For any normal person, it would be time to retire.
And yet, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has indicated he’ll seek a ninth term that would keep him in public office until the age of 88. It would make him the longest-serving senator of all-time.
Leahy’s motivation is supposedly that he’s the only Democrat that could win that seat. Vermont has never elected another Democratic senator, since Bernie Sanders caucuses as an independent.
If this was any other profession, the reasonable person would understand that job performance — not to mention governing with energy and producing new ideas — declines significantly with age. Eighty-one, let alone 88, is past the point of reasonable employment.
To prevent politicians like Leahy’s and others serving until outrageous ages, it’s time for the Senate to implement an 80-year-old age cap after which Senators are no longer permitted to pursue another term.
Leahy isn’t the only politician guilty of this. There are four senators older than Leahy, three of which are 87 — Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Grassley and Richard Shelby. Shelby is retiring; Feinstein won re-election in 2018 and is set to serve until 2024. (She’ll be 91 by the time her term expires.)
Criminally, Grassley is considering another term. That would make him 95 years old when his term would expire in 2028. Just think about that for a minute.
This isn’t to be ageist or attack the intentions of these politicians. Grassley is someone who has been remarkably committed to governing through his time in office; in 2012, after decades in office, Grassley had only missed 35 Senate votes.
Between July 1993 and November 2020, Grassley didn’t miss a single roll-call vote, and his streak only came to an end because he was quarantined after exposure to COVID-19. He holds the record for the most time without missing a vote.
But regardless of the longevity and dedication of these politicians, it is irresponsible to seek another term at that age. Leahy has already experienced health difficulties, being hospitalized in January 2021 after feeling ill.
To run again would be to ignore the realities of life and the needs of Leahy’s constituents. It’s simply irresponsible to seek another six-year term.
Unbiased, Unfiltered. WBOB's Original Reads feature our brightest and boldest personalities, offering their two-cents on the goings on of news, sports, politics, entertainment, and business. -- Are our opinions always PC? Nope. Are they always perfect? Nah. But, are they always 100% authentic? Absolutely!