It is sad news that two leading Democratic progressives in the US Senate—Tom Harkin of Iowa and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia—have decided to retire in 2014, leaving a major gap that could affect the Senate balance, although both would have come under fire from Tea Party Republicans for sure if they had run, each for a sixth term.
Both have served since election in 1984, and Harkin had been in the US House of Representatives for ten years previously, and Rockefeller had been Governor of his state for eight years previously.
So both have served their state and nation for approximately 40 years, and are leaving in their mid 70s, a good time to leave, and an opportunity for fresh blood to come into the Senate.
Both were great public servants, and Harkin was this blogger’s personal favorite for President when he ran in 1992 in a field including Bill Clinton.
Both will be missed, and it will be hard to replace them with men or women with their commitment to principle, decency, and humanity!