I have wished for the retirement of Jon Kyl before, beginning in January of 2009, when the days were brighter and the future seemed to be won already:
Kyl has started paying attention again, because the guy who won isn’t his guy any more. Apparently, it’s the dawn of a new day for Republicans, a day where you have to show up for work, instead of just phoning it in. Only here’s the thing: just as he’s not willing to call a truce with Obama, I’m not willing to call a truce with him. Mr. Kyl, you and your friends in the Bush White House got us into these messes, so you’ll excuse me if your newfound desire to stand on principle is less than inspiring. Welcome back to doing your job; I hope it sucks for at least the next four years.
It turns out it has, apparently, been rather exhausting for Senator Kyl these last few months. His colleagues in the House have retaken control of the place, but Jon Kyl has labored on in the slow-moving shadow of Mitch McConnell. That shadow has only grown larger since the election, because now there’s McConnell and the Tea Party to contend with. The national stage that Kyl must have believed he was promised — remember John McCain suggesting he’d be a great 2012 contender? — has never appeared. He’s known as a Great Leader in the party of continual, never-ending No.
Simply put, it is time – time to do something new, time to have a more flexible schedule for my family, and time to give others an opportunity. My health is fine, I’m confident I could win reelection, and, while I don’t like some aspects of political life, they have been worth enduring because of the tremendous opportunity I’ve had to represent Arizonans. So, there is no ‘negative’ reason for my decision.
Nor will I retire from politics. After my family and faith, my desire to advance conservative principles is the animating force in my life (even ahead of NASCAR). To those who say, ‘You can’t stop now, there is so much to do and we’re on the cusp of taking control of the Senate,’ I simply note that there will always be unfinished business in advancing the cause of freedom.
It’s that last that gives me real pause. What does it say when the number two Republican in the U.S. Senate leaves said senate to be able to better influence political outcomes and conservative principles?
Nothing particularly good. It means the influence from without seems easier, better, stronger, and more interesting than actually participating in the system. If we are to believe Jon Kyl’s assertion that he sees no negatives in leaving the Senate, and if we also believe that Kyl is going to stay active and committed to his special brand of hard-core conservatism, then what we may finally be witnessing is the beginning of the end for the Republican Party as an institution. If its leaders are willing to abandon it for the safe shelters of cable news and so-called think tanks, who will stay in the party? Who will keep it alive?
I, for one, welcome his resignation, but will not welcome our Tea Party Overlords.