This whole “seniority” thing in the Senate has always been a bunch of garbage and helped contribute to the “good ole’ boys” club mentality that surrounds the chamber. Now it looks like it could be coming to an end:
During a question-and-answer session with progressive media, video blogger Mike Stark asked lawmakers why the Democratic caucus hasn’t yanked Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee, considering her opposition to Democratic legislative efforts. In Arkansas, her gavel is a top selling point as she battles a progressive primary challenge.
“We’re going to elect committee chairs next year,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “The current chairs that are sitting there now understand that we’ll be electing chairs next year,” he added, saying the idea had been cleared with Senate leadership.
Under current rules, members of the caucus can weigh in by objecting to an overall Senate organizing resolution, but don’t have an up-or-down vote on each chair.
That’s exactly how it should be. Take Lieberman as an example. The only reason he is still a Democrat is so that he can keep his seniority and have his Homeland Security chairmanship. It doesn’t matter if Jack Bauer himself became a senator, Lieberman would still be chair because of his seniority.
It’s practices like this that have made the Senate a laughing stock of the free world. I’m glad to see talk of ending it. If these people really think they should chair committees, then let them fight for it. It’s time for our senators to prove their worth.