Senator Kyl: An All-Around Good Guy

by John J. Pitney, Jr.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) has made it official: He won’t run for reelection in 2012. That’s unfortunate. He is a solid conservative, a thoughtful lawmaker, and all-around good guy. Matt Latimer, in his jaundiced memoir of his years as a Washington staffer, could not think of anything bad to write about Kyl — which is saying something.

The lawmakers who choose to leave in their prime are the ones who don’t have any psychological need to hold office — in other words, they’re exactly the kind who should stay. Those who crave media attention and other perks of office are the ones who ought to go — but they usually hang on until the voters kick them to the curb. (Think of Arlen Specter.)

John J. Pitney Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College.

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