Posted on February 7, 2009. Filed under: News And Politics... |

Obama has, indeed, brought change to America, and it’s not a positive one…
In this piece by the New York Times, some members of the Senate are stepping down for "personal reasons" while three are taking positions in Obama’s administration―hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?  House Majority Leader, Harry Reid (Nevada Dem), is quoted as saying, "“You can’t blame Obama,” about the Senate’s most prominent loss.  Well, they certainly can’t blame Bush for this one.
The climate in Washington, DC is heating up…and I’m not talking about the Hot House Obama now lives in.  Even though they’re earning big salaries with lots of perks, some senators (mostly Republicans) are stepping down.  Do you see a trend here?  Since Obama has been in office, there are a lot of people "stepping down".  Why would they when they have such cushy, well-paid jobs?  As of January 1, 2008, the annual salary of each Representative is $169,300.  The Speaker of the House and the Majority and Minority Leaders obviously earn more.  The Speaker earned $212,100 during the 109th Congress (January 4, 2005-January 3, 2007) while the party leaders earned $183,500 (the same as Senate leaders).  A Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes to not accept it.  Now you know even though we’re in a deep recession, they are not going to practice what they preach by repudiating their COLAs.  They’ll drink up…so to speak.  Congress sets members’ salaries, but maybe it should be the economic climate that dictates how much they should be paid.  Isn’t this what the government is demanding of Wall Street executives now?…saying that they can only earn bonuses when they have earned them?  Another classic example of "do as I say, not as I do".  The 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits a change in salary (but not COLA) from taking effect until after the next general election.  Representatives are eligible for lifetime benefits after serving for five years, including a pension, health benefits, and social security benefits.
Let’s face it, they all get preferential treatment and lots of perks, so why are they fleeing from Obamaworld?  The Democrats are saying "it’s not Obama’s fault".  Hmmm…I consider that a red flag that they feel the need to have to say that…it naturally makes me think the opposite.  I say it’s because this past election demonstrated how biased most of this country is against Republicans, especially most of the news media.  Democrats, even though a lot of them have shady pasts, including Obama, are portrayed as saints while Republicans are portrayed as demons.  Republicans would be better off staying and fighting for their Party, though.  By stepping down, they’re giving the Democrats an even bigger majority, something that this country does not need right now.  To quote Christian Michel…"Democratic law does not say, ‘Thou shalt not kill’.  Instead, it designates certain people who have the right to kill―soldiers and State police.  Democratic law does not order, ‘Thou shalt not steal’.  It says that only certain people have the right to steal―tax and customs agents.  What does ‘power to the people’ mean when the people enjoy fewer rights than their supposed servants?"  Government today is certainly not what it used to be.  To me, left is wrong and right is right.
With so much prestige, money and power to gain, why is there now a recession amongst the Senate members, with the Democrats so much in the majority?  Is there too much corruption now in the government?  On that note, I’d like to close with a David Brin quote:  "It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible."  Well said…
NYT: Despite prestige, Senate’s allure fades

With senators from both parties departing, body suffers its own recession
By Carl Hulse
The New York Times
updated 7:56 a.m. ET, Thurs., Feb. 5, 2009

WASHINGTON – It costs millions of dollars to get in, comes with a nice salary, plenty of staff members, national influence and real prestige, but the Senate obviously does not hold the irresistible attraction it once did.

Senator Judd Gregg, a Republican stalwart, was the latest to jolt his colleagues this week with his decision to depart for the new administration — a Democratic one at that. Mr. Gregg became the third senator to leave for the executive branch and the fifth if you count Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr., who now run the executive branch. Others, notably Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, were eager to make the move.

Ken Salazar served only four years of his first term as a senator from Colorado before resigning to become interior secretary, a nice job for a Westerner but not necessarily a can’t-turn-down plum for a senator with a bright future.

Four Republicans have announced they will retire at the end of their current terms.

The Senate appears to be in a recession of its own.

“I think there are some aspects of Senate life that haven’t been fun the last couple of years, which have to do with the acrimony and lack of getting things done,” said Senator Mel Martinez, the Florida Republican who announced this year that he would not seek a second term. “It is not fatal to the institution, it has been here a long time, but there are a lot of people leaving.”

Mr. Martinez and others say another factor is the incessant fund-raising needed to generate the money to run for the chance to win and raise more money to run again.

“It is a huge money chase, and in a bad economy it gets that much more difficult,” said Senator Sam Brownback, the Kansas Republican who is not running next year in accordance with a term-limits pledge.

Then there are the politically charged message votes, the impossible-to-please interest groups, the strain on family, the angry constituents, the uninformed critics and the intensifying news media scrutiny.

“Really, you just have to watch everything,” said Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska Republican senator who decided not to seek re-election last year after a flirtation with running for president.

Mr. Hagel, 62, who plans to teach and engage in some business ventures, said he wanted to go out at a point where he could pursue new opportunities. But he acknowledged a certain frustration with the way things got done — or did not — in the Senate.

“You have 100 members in there now who essentially all have the same rights,” Mr. Hagel said. “Any member can get up at any time and talk as long as they want, make as big a fool of themselves as they want.”

Even those who are sticking around admit that the Senate ground is shifting.

“The classic script of the Senate is you get elected, keep in touch with the folks back home and stay a gazillion years,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon. “That has been turned on its head.”

Democrats say Republicans, now in the minority in both the Senate and House, must grapple with the sense of irrelevance that can come from being out of power. They say that Mr. Martinez of Florida faced a difficult re-election and that even Mr. Gregg was going to struggle to win a fourth term in New Hampshire.

The House is suffering a bit of its own drain as well. Representative Adam H. Putnam, Republican of Florida and a former House leader, has already announced he is quitting to seek state office.

But it is not just Republicans. At some points last year, it seemed the entire Senate was angling either for the presidency, the vice presidency or a cabinet slot. Hillary Rodham Clinton, foiled in her presidential bid and stuck down the seniority ladder, leaped at the chance to be secretary of state in her rival’s administration, and Senator John Kerry wanted the job as well.

Meanwhile, Rahm Emanuel left a top position in the House Democratic leadership to become White House chief of staff. And Hilda L. Solis resigned as a congresswoman from Los Angeles to become the nominee for labor secretary.

The lawmakers say people have individual reasons for quitting: age, health, the search for a new challenge, a sense that they have a hit a wall. After serving as a governor and as a member of the House and the Senate, Mr. Gregg may have seen the cabinet as a way to round out his career.

But Mr. Salazar, who took the interior job offered by Mr. Obama, had just begun a promising career in the Senate and was a well-liked centrist with a Hispanic heritage from an increasingly important swing state. Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada and majority leader, said Mr. Salazar could not turn down the opportunity.

“It was a very difficult thing for him to leave,” said Mr. Reid, who noted Mr. Salazar’s growing up as part of a large family on a ranch with no electricity. “This means so much to his family to have a Salazar as part of the president’s cabinet.”

And Mr. Reid, who is devoted to the Senate, said it would be wrong to presume other recent departees were simply fed up.

“You can’t blame Obama,” said Mr. Reid about the Senate’s most prominent loss. “He was here two years. He couldn’t have gotten tired of it that quickly.”



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