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From: Henry Houston (e-mail him)
Your readers may have missed this bit of insight.
Writing in his February 2006 column about Pete Domenici's refusal to enforce U.S. immigration laws and his complicity in handing New Mexico over to illegal aliens, Guzzardi speculated that the senator might be "senile"
Turns out Guzzardi was spot on—and about eighteen months before anyone else.
In the early fall of 2007, the now defunct Albuquerque Tribune and the Weekly Alibi, an alternative newspaper, reported that Domenici has been suffering for "some time" from a degenerative brain disease which makes it impossible for him to fulfill his responsibilities as our Republican Senator. The stories went on to say that Dominici would soon be stepping down.
And, sure enough, a few weeks later, Domenici announced his retirement. [GOP Sen. Domenici Retires After 6 Terms, Associated Press, October 4, 2007]
Reading between the lines, Domenici's has been going senile for several years. But finally his condition reached such an advanced state that neither he nor his staff could hide it any longer, so he had to resign.
Now we are left to wonder if Guzzardi is also right about other elderly Senators whom he speculated might also have diminished capacity.
Joe Guzzardi replies: Domenici's condition is sad for his family and friends. But, at the risk of seeming insensitive, his slow mental deterioration makes my point about how unwise it is to have so many U.S. Senators who are in the twilight of their lives.
In a column I wrote only days after Domenici announced his retirement, I listed many other elderly Senators, Teddy Kennedy among them, whose curious behavior (immigration related and otherwise) certainly justifies questions about their acuity.
Just apply common sense when evaluating their job performance. Of the current 100 Senators, 63 are 60 or older; 26 are older than 70. Many have been at their jobs for 25+ years. Domenici had served since 1973. No one at that age, regardless of his profession, can have the same enthusiasm or physical stamina that he had when he began his career.
Many—if not most—aging Senators will have afflictions—mental and physical—consistent with growing old.
Two weeks ago, for example, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, 78, was diagnosed with a recurrence of Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph system. Specter underwent treatment for the same type of cancer in 2005
We're unlikely to see term limits in the Senate—why would they want to displace themselves from their cushy and prestigious jobs?
But you, the voters, could impose those limits by refusing to vote for any candidate over 60.