Dear John (and Joe and Sam, and Chris, too),
This is the Senate. Do we need to reassess our relationship?
Yes, you're running for president. It steals your time. You spend days and nights and weekends away from the congressional home front, courting admirers in
Iowaand New Hampshireand . South Carolina
But what about voting, your chief chore in
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), you've been the scarcest of the Senate sextuplet, the chamber's largest class of presidential candidates in 20 years. You've missed one out of every three votes since January, according to Congressional Observer Publications, a nonpartisan database service.
Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), you come around a bit more often, but not nearly as much as Senate apple-polishers Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.), homebodies by comparison. They've made it to all but three votes.
You probably think senators get a bum deal in presidential campaigns. Unlike governors and "Law & Order" stars, senators can be held accountable through their voting record if they skip out on their day job to eat hot dogs in
. Des Moines, Iowa
Comment: Chances are extremely thin that any of these candidates will win the Presidency (Burden 2002), yet they will continue to pursue this quest at the expense of their electorate. If the states supported the repeal of the 17th Amendment, legislatures could hold them accountable. At present, no one holds them accountable. And yet this is what the 17th Amendment and more “democracy” has given us; unaccountable senators spending their time running for President.