Orbital Matters

Saturn Smith
Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 10, 2011 1:46PM

Jon Kyl 2012: Party Down

Rate: 10 Flag

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.

And now he’s going to retire. His statement today:

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.

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When 90% of a senator's time is spent hobnobbing with wealthy donors, hat in hand, instead of doing the nation's business (assuming the two aren't the same!), it's a wonder more don't retire. It's got to kill one's idealism, regardless of ideology.
Indeed, I think you're right. It wears on the soul. Or -- maybe you learn that the soul delights in fundraising or at least in funds, and you make a change.
Nice to see you, Saturn. You're missed.
"Our teaparty overlords..." ooooog.

(Nice to see you again...)
I'm with you, Saturn. Good riddance!
I don't care if he goes. He is right, there will always be something to do. That is why I would like term limits.

BTW, where have you been? While we may not agree, I do miss your point of view.
The question no one ever asks of these bozos: Does you family want to spend more time with you?
It may just be that the lucre of Fox or K Street is an offer that can't be refused. Glad to see you're posting again Saturn.
Kyl - more average GOP scum that will not be missed.
Very good riddance. As for this "It means the influence from without seems easier, better, stronger, and more interesting than actually participating in the system." It also pays a helluva lot better, and you expect to see Kyl ass-deep in lobbying one way or another.
Hey, thanks, y'all. I've missed you, too. I'm still a little hiatus-y, but I'm trying to find space in my non-virtual commitments for a little visiting from time to time.
Maybe he should hold a town hall in Tuscon some Saturday.
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Kyl morph into a lobbyist? (Ya think?)

Of course, he could always pick up a cute little uniform and man the border with all his goofy constituents.
Another EP for an essay that fosters the continued shallow debate of "Republicans bad -- Democrats good/Democrats bad -- Republicans good". How sad.

The logic seems faulty here as well. There haven't been Democrats who left Congress to become lobbyists? Aren’t almost all of us on OS whose interest is politics (i.e., the art and science of governance) seeking to “. . influence political outcomes. . .” – whether liberal or conservative; and aren't almost all in this group outside Congress? What does that say about us?

Further, are there any Democrats keeping Republicans company in prison? What good does it do to rejoice in the death of a conservative and repeat what someone else wrote about “right-wing vomit”?

How do such essays lead to solutions? How do such essays do anything other than foster partisanship?

I am sorry to see such intellectual shallowness honored so often by the editors, no matter how good or how clever the writing.
In the meantime, I am reminded of the life-long Republican who, on his deathbed, called in the County Recorder to change is party registration to Democrat. When his son later inquired of his father’s conversion the response was, “Son, better a Democrat die than a Republican.”

Please feel free to reverse the party labels in the foregoing JOKE. (Emphasis added for those of you without a sense of humor.)
We have a fundamental disagreement about my meaning here, UncleChri; I'm critical of concept, which seems to be further proven by Kyl's resignation, that the best way to exercise influence in the United States right now is to become a lobbyist or television personality, rather than to work daily as a representative of the people's interests. To that end, I think discussing the problem is part of the solution, because it fosters some small but (let's hope) spreading awareness that our political system -- and both parties -- are broken.

You're absolutely right that some Democrats have left for the greener financial pastures of lobbying, and some Republicans have, and both sides have had their share of criminals, and both sides are wrong about many things. I agree ideologically more with the Democratic side, but I hope that doesn't spare them my criticism when we disagree. I don't think it has, though you will find the general tenor of this blog to be left-leaning and pro-Democrat.

Thanks for the comment.
If I remember correctly, the origin of the word ‘lobbyist’ arises from the days of the Grant presidency. The president liked to hang in Washington hotels, probably to drink away from the White House. Those who sought to influence him waited in the lobbies of his favorite haunts hoping for the fortuitous encounter.

However, it takes two to tango, as they say. Lobbyists are absolutely without influence on those who refuse to meet with them or take their money or favors. Lobbyists are even without influence on those with whom they meet who are resolved not to repeat the mistakes of history, who intend to act in the best interests of America, who possess, and use, a mind of their own, and who possess, and use, some common sense.

In short, the problem isn’t lobbyists. The problem is self-serving, short-sighted, get reelected at all costs, incumbents. Keep voting out such people and chances are you will do much to harm the lobbying business.

I will be disappointed if you believe that is not a practical solution. It is one of the messages the Tea Baggers are sending. .. .

Two presidents before Grant, the 16th had an encounter on a stairway with a citizen. The suggestion to the president was that America should declare war on a European country to distract the America’s attention from the Civil War. Lincoln didn’t have a problem in telling this idiot just exactly what he thought of his suggestion.

See? Easy. . . .

Don’t be scared of Jon as a lobbyist. Be scared of, and do something about, the idiots in Congress.

As a working class Arizonan, I have long seen Kyle and others as enemies of the people. I have long known that these turkeys are only representing the wealthy.

Honestly, way too many voters around this small district are easily fooled.
One example: our district relies on mining for much employment.
Believing that Republicans were better for the mining industry, Arizonans in the first district elected a swindling carpet bagger to the US Congress: 2002-2008.

Well, Renzi and some of his shyster real estate family let their greed got in the way of new mining jobs.*

Oh yes, the gobs of crow these folks have to eat. Maybe, they would learn, but no; last year we got rid of a good, competent, middle ground Democrat: Ann Kirkpatrick, and put in another Republican: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Gosar.
I wonder how much crow these people can eat--Maybe they like it?

* http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Rick_Renzi#Record_and_controversies
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