Byrd to Inouye: Youth Movement Hits Senate!

Okay, okay. Not to get cynical here–in fact, I’m still observing, seriously, a Skepticism Moratorium in honor of Obama’s election, which has lifted my spirits for numerous reasons. But about this Change Thing. . .

You may have noticed that Sen. Harry Byrd, longest-time Dem from West Virginia, announced he’ll be giving up his post as chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations committee. Byrd, who is 90 years old, has  been a member of the committee for 50 years and its ranking member for 20.

“A new day has dawned in Washington, and that is a good thing,” Byrd said in a statement released by his office. “For my part, I believe that it is time for a new day at the top of the Senate Appropriations Committee.”

Byrd’s been in frail health of late, so his move makes sense. The purpose here is not to mock him or paint him as some mentally vacant wreck. If we live long enough, we’ll all travel that road.

But if you ever wonder why change comes slowly to Washington, and if you ever wonder why our government isn’t known as a seed bed of innovative thinking, consider what the Senate and Sen. Byrd regard as “a new day” for the Approps Committee.

Its new chair will be Daniel Inouye of Hawaii. He’s 84 years old.  He was elected to the Senate in 1962.

Inouye is a decorated WW II hero who lost his right arm in combat. I’m sure he has many good qualities. But wouldn’t it make sense to assume that most of Inouye’s innovative thinking and new insights are well behind him?  Can you recall the last time a major U. S. corporation handed the reins to an 84-year old? If you had heart surgery planned, would you feel A) better or B) scared as hell to learn that the fellow wielding the knife, or programming the lasers, was born five years before the Great Depression began?

Barack, meet your “new” team. Was it just a week ago we were hearing that the 72-year old non-Web-savvy John McCain was such a Precambrian fossil that he couldn’t be trusted with the presidency?   Only in Washington. . .

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