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Death, the Ultimate Term Limit

November 23, 2010

In my ongoing series in which I see every available speaker at my college (see Paulson and Pines-Paz) I heard Richard Fontaine speak last week. Fontaine is a senior fellow at the Center For A New American Security (CNAS). It’s a non-partisan think tank that has tended to have a liberal reputation but with the appointment of Fontaine, formerly John McCain’s foreign policy advisor and clearly a Republican, it is seemingly pretty non-partisan. Fontaine talked about the midterm elections, current policy, and the 2012 election all through the sphere of foreign policy. He was very intelligent and it was easy to listen to (at least for a policy wonk like myself). I could write about many things he said but one thing in particular struck me and it was on the topic of his former boss, John McCain.

I asked if the media narrative, that McCain had become far more conservative, had credibility with someone who really knew him. Fontaine answered that McCain was a “fighter” so he would have appeared liberal under a Republican Pres and conservative under a Dem. He conceded that he was emphasizing his conservative side more recently but then he said we should watch how he act in this next term, his final term in congress.

WHAT! I thought, HAS HE SAID THAT THIS IS HIS FINAL TERM!?!?!

But then I realized that McCain will be 80 next time he’s up for reelection, and although there have certainly been senators who served long past that point on conciseness, Fontaine said he did not think McCain would take that route. SO now in the next 6 years we have a McCain who is both concerned with his legacy and unencumbered by reelection! I don’t know what this will mean, but it should be fun to watch.

Which brings me to my final point, I believe strongly in term limits, basically I believe in anything that takes  power away from the electorate (I am the ultimate elitist) but I guess electing the old and feeble does have a benefit.

For good measure, here are the other Senators who are probably too old to run for reelection a.k.a. the ones with God’s term limits, they are probably serving their last terms:

2010:

Richard Shelby, Alabama, is 76

Daniel Inouye, Hawaii is 86

Chuck Grassley is 77

Barbara Mikulski is 74

John McCain is 74

And here’s how old some current senators would be when they run for reelation:

2012:

Diane Feinstein, California will be 79 (She said she will run, but what else will she say)

Daniel Akaka Hawaii, will be 88

Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico will be 69

Herb Kohl, Wisconsin will be 77

Richard Lugar, Indiana 80 (Said he’s running)

Orrin Hatch, Utah will be 78 (Said he’s running)

2014:

Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey will be 90 (My bet, he runs, why not)

Pat Roberts, Kansas will be 78

Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma will be  79

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