Monday, November 26, 2007

Trent Lott Leaves The Senate Next Year

Long time Senator from Mississippi, Trent Lott will resign the U.S. Senate early next year. For a long time, I thought Trent Lott was doing a good job in the United States Senate. However, in recent years he became too much of an insider and seems now to care more about 'making deals' than he did about doing the right thing and representing his conservative leaning State of Mississippi. To be frank, the Bush administration left Trent Lott swinging in the wind when he was accused of racism when he made comments about another U.S. senator at a retirement event. Rather that rushing to the aid of Lott, his own President let him down. While Trent Lott has made prgress in rebuilding his career, he apparently has grown tired of bitter partisanship in the U.S. Senate and will retire within the next two months.

Earlier this year, Senator Lott made a huge political mistake when he jokingly said that something needed to be done about Rush Limbaugh. Lott made those comments after Limbaugh and other conservative radio talk show hosts were successful in derailing GOP and democratic attempts to push through a new and flawed immigration reform law. That legislation, fortunately, failed to become law. However, the fingerprints of Trent Lott and other Republicans were all over it which came as a great disappointment to conservative Republicans, nationwide. I first got to know Trent Lott, via Sunday morning television, when he lead Republican efforts in the U.S. Senate. Back then he seemed like a reasonable man that looked for good compromise with Democrats that did not involve selling out principles to get the job done.

Today, it has been reported that the reason Trent Lott is resigning the U.S. Senate is because that body has become too partisan. While I agree that partisanship has become worse in Washington the past few years, I doubt if a tough fight is the real reason Trent Lott is retiring from the United States Senate. Early next year, new rules will go into place in Congress that will lengthen the time between when a U.S. Senator leaves the Senate before they can go to work for outside lobbying firms. Since Trent Lott is probably not leaving the Senate to go back to Mississippi and retire, my thinking is he will now take his years of public service and sell his influence to a private company that wishes to get preferential treatment in U.S. law.

In my opinion it should be illegal for any Member of Congress to hire themselves out to lobbyist after they leave office. This practice looks dirty, even if it is not and why should a person of influence, like Trent Lott, be allowed to try and influence his former colleagues for the purpose of helping out some large company create loopholes in law? I wish Trent Lott the best in his retirement and his career is just another example of why there needs to be term limits on all Members of Congress. All Members of Congress come to Washington with good ideas and a clean heart, but somewhere along the way most of them end up selling their soul to powerful special interest groups.

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