Master Puppeteer Kyl Set to Retire
At the end of 18 Years in the U.S. Senate, Jon Kyl's Tenure has Shown He Was More About Party Than The People
Us. Sen. Jon Kyl in his official portrait.
By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine .com
Feb. 14, 2011 — Sen. Jon Kyl will soon become a former public servant and it seems like the dogs have already begun to pounce and posture to both honor and replace a man that has Eddie Haskell-ed his way to the top of the political dung heap in Washington.
By the time his term runs out in 2013, he will be entering his 25th year in Congress. The last five as Minority Whip in the Senate. Throughout that time, Jon Kyl has become one of the most pre-eminent tacticians in Washington, D.C.
In 2006, Time labeled him “The Operator” for the way he shaped the Republican Senate agenda — mainly as a puppeteer pulling the strings of the loyal troops who would support bills they did not write and other skullduggery. Sure, that’s politics, but it was our favorite son out there laying in the weeds while the actors performed.
“You can accomplish a lot if you're not necessarily out in front on everything,” he told Time in 2006.
His record does indeed show that he was not out in front on many issues in what will be an 18- year run as U.S. Senator from Arizona. His most high profile feats? Standing firm for victims rights but also failed attempts at immigration reform.
While initial public reaction gushed about what a great man and public servant Kyl is from Sen. John McCain and others, it was a first term representative, Paul Gosar, who hit the nail right on the head when he said, “Senator Kyl is an extraordinary statesman and his leadership in Congress will be missed.”
Heck, the man who took over Kyl’s old House seat when he moved to the Senate, John Shadegg, even called on Kyl to change his mind since the vacuum his leaving would cause could derail the Republican agenda.
“Our country is at a pivotal point in history and the stable leadership, in both foreign and domestic policy, of Jon Kyl is something we can ill afford to lose,” Shadegg said.
So that is it. One of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time in 2010 is walking away from his Senatorial role. Voters hear all of the time about how important it is for those in Congress to ascend to leadership positions so they can get things accomplished for the state. Kyl has been Majority Whip for nearly four years and has delivered virtually nothing for the state but carrying out the Republican agenda.
Sure, that has probably been good enough for half of the state, but what about serving everyone’s interests?
“Jon will most assuredly go down in history as one of Arizona's most effective advocates in Washington. I know once Jon leaves the Senate he will continue to serve his country and the people of Arizona, as he has so nobly for the last 26 years,” said Sen John McCain of Kyl’s retirement.
With all due respect to Sen. McCain, Kyl will likely be a footnote in the history books, as most puppeteers are. Everyone remembers Pinocchio, not Geppetto.
Direct sponsorship of legislation gets politicians remembered, not behind-the-scenes shenanigans. Sen. Carl Hayden will always be remembered for the Central Arizona Project. McCain for finance reform and his presidential runs.
Kyl, not so much.
But don’t expect him to go away anytime soon. At 69, he still has time to pull some more strings.
Thankfully, though, by 2013 Arizonans will hopefully have at least one senator who will care more about the residents of his state than the politics of his party.