Term limits may be the answer to what ails Washington. Its truly amazing when one stops to consider that there are Senators and Congressmen who have served upwards of 50 years in office. While it is possible for a politician to remain untarnished by corruption for that lenght of time it is unlikely.
I have compiled this list of the longest serving Senators and Congressmen. I have to take my hat off to those who have dedicated thier lives to public service. It is a noble and worthy cause. Having said that maybe we should question why the people of this country chose to limit presidents to only 8 years.
Consider this (From Wikipedia ):
When the states ratified the Constitution (1787-88), several leading statesmen regarded the lack of mandatory limits to tenure as a dangerous defect, especially, they thought, as regards the Presidency and the Senate. Richard Henry Lee viewed the absence of legal limits to tenure, together with certain other features of the Constitution, as "most highly and dangerously oligarchic." Both Jefferson and George Mason advised limits on reelection to the Senate and to the Presidency, because said Mason, "nothing is so essential to the preservation of a Republican government as a periodic rotation." The historian Mercy Otis Warren, warned that "there is no provision for a rotation, nor anything to prevent the perpetuity of office in the same hands for life; which by a little well timed bribery, will probably be done...."
It seems those fears have been realized. It's time for the nation to consider term limits. It may be true that some outstanding public servents will be lost to limits but it is an absolute certainty that a much larger portion of bad ones will be culled from the political herd.
One interesting point to note: among the top 25 longest serving Senators only 7 were Republican; of the top 10 longest serving Congressmen on 1 was a Republican. I don't know that this has any significance beyond mere curiosity but I thought it was worth noting.
The List of Senators comes from the Senate.Gov Site
1. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) 50 years +
2. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) 47 years +
3. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) 46 years +
4. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) 46 years +
5. Carl T. Hayden (D-AZ) 41 years +
6. John Stennis (D-MS) 41 years +
7. Ted Stevens (R-AK) 40 years +
8. Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC) 38 years +
9. Richard B. Russell (D-GA) 38 years +
10. Russell Long (D-LA) 38 years +
The list of Congressmen comes from Wikipedia
1. John DIngell (D-MI) 54 Years +
2. Jamie Whitten (D-MS) 53 Years +
3. Carl Vinson (D-GA) 50 years +
4. Emanuel Celler (D-NY) 49 years +
5. Sam Rayburn (D-TX) 48 years +
6. Joseph Cannon (R-IL) 48 years
7. Sidney Yates (D-IL) 48 years
8. Wright Patman (D-TX) 47 years +
9. Adolph Sabath (D-IL) 45 years +
10. John Conyers (D-MI) 45 years +
There are multitudes of others in both houses who have served 30+ years in office. There are just to many to list here. Check the included links to see the rest.