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GUEST COLUMN: ‘I don’t think so much of congress myself’

Darrell Huckaby

Darrell Huckaby can be reached at

Mark Twain had a way with words — and a way of seeing the world through eyes that seemed more enlightened than the average person’s. He once observed, for instance, “Man is the only animal that blushes — or needs to.”

He also wrote, “it’s better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” Another. “There are idiots and there are congressmen, but I repeat myself.”

And this one. “There is no distinctly American criminal class — except Congress.

Are you seeing a pattern here? Mark Twain didn’t think too much of the way Congress conducted our nation’s business —and he died in 1910. Apparently not much has changed over the past 100 years or so. I’m no Mark Twain, but I don’t think so much of Congress myself.

In fact, although I know some members of Congress, personally, whom I respect and admire and don’t mind eating a pork pig sandwich with, as a group, they are basically worthless and seem to be getting worse by the day.

Our Senators and Representatives are supposed to represent the people that elected them. More and more and more it seems to me that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have gotten way too used to putting political party and personal interests above the will of the people. I, for one, am sick and tired of it, but the way our system works it is harder to un-elect an incumbent than it is to dethrone the New England Patriots.

The Founding Fathers never dreamed that people would make a career out of Congressional politics. That’s why they created two year terms for Representatives. You go to Washington and you don’t do the will of the people, you come right back home. The Senators were not elected at all, in the beginning. They were appointed by the state governments. Six years was the term and most people thought that term would be their tenure.

Somewhere the system went sideways. Patrick Leahy has served in the U.S. Senate since Gerald Ford was president. 43 years. Do you know how much power a person can amass in 43 years? Way, way, way too much power. Leahy happens to be a Democrat. The next four longest tenured senators and six of the next seven are Republicans, ranging from Orrin Hatch with 41 years to John McCain with 31. 22 Senators have been in power since the previous century.

Over on the other side of the bicameral legislature it is just as bad. Keep in mind that these people only serve two-year terms so they are always in the process of running for office. Don Young of Alaska has been in Congress since before Herschel Walker started high school. In 1972 he was elected from Alaska and has been elected every two-years since.

Nancy Pelosi has been in office since 1987. Maxine Waters has been in office since 1991.

That’s not the way our government was designed to work. Today’s politicians talk about the service they put in on behalf of the people. That sounds high-minded. Service. But, back in the day, Grandpa used to tell me that he had to rent a bull to service his cows. There’s more than one kind of service and I cannot help but believe we are getting the kind of service from the United States Congress that Grandpa got from his rented bull.

Another thing to think about. The salary of a Congressman is $174,000.

According to CNN Money, the median net worth of a US Senator is $2.8 million, a Representative a paltry $843,500. How do you amass that kind of money while making $174,000 a year?

When I was younger and dumber I didn’t understand those who wanted term limits. I figured that we, the people, could limit the term of an elected official at the ballot box, whenever we wanted. Now I know better and setting term limits for Congress is probably the last best hope for our country. I know the lawmakers aren’t going to vote themselves out of a job so the only chance we have of doing that is a Convention of the States. Let him who has ears, hear.

And by the way. Do you know what the official name is for a group of baboons?

It’s a congress. You can look it up.

Darrell Huckaby can be reached at