Being a member of Congress is hard, say members of Congress. But don't break out the violins just yet. Led by Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, a favorite among liberals as one of the few Republican senators willing to compromise, many young and young-ish sitting congressmen and senators are looking outside Capitol Hill for their next job, discouraged by their current one. "As they head for the exits this year, many leaving Congress say the prestigious job of being a congressman sucks now, and that’s why lawmakers young and old are trading in their member pins for a new life in the private sector," writes Jonathan Allen of Politico, who caught up with a few of the disappointed to figure out why they are so bummed.
Among the reasons: The public hates them. They haven't had a pay raise in three years (it's been frozen at $174,000). Soft money makes reelection harder. And yes, the gridlock of actually doing their job, too. But we can't feel too sorry when some just seem to be upset that their ambitions aren't being met. “I’m used to being a player,” Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma said. "You want to get things done for your constituents. If you can’t ever become speaker or a committee chairman, why are you doing it?”
Powerful people's feelings aside, this does raise a question: If fewer competent folks are seeking higher office, what sorts of people will be willing to replace them?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.