While much has already been said about his accomplishments, I will reflect on only one aspect of Senator Robert Byrd's long political career. Like Senators Edward Kennedy and Strom Thurmond before him, this senator epitomizes what many citizens have come to despise - the professional politician.
I have become convinced that these senators, and others like them - Senators Ted Stevens and Arlen Specter come to mind - could not possibly understand the real life issues of the average voter. They have simply been to long and too far removed from the realities of real life encountered by the voters they are charged to represent. And I include here perfectly respectable politicians who mean well and conduct themselves appropriate to their responsibilities.
I firmly believe our founding fathers intended for dedicated citizens to rise to public service in politics when needed, and then return to private life after their service. If term limits are good enough for the office of president, term limits should also apply to Congress. Never mind the favorite phrase of so many of these professional politicians - "We have term limits, since our constituents can vote us out any time."
As more and more of these "politicians for life" opt to die in office rather than return voluntarily to the realities of private life, it is up to the voters to help them make the right decision.
My voting guide this election season and for the foreseeable future is simple: No incumbents, no exceptions!