Even in the event that Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens is ultimately found to have committed no crimes, he is the perfect argument for term limits.
Stevens is as an almost 40-year member of Congress best known as the genesis of one of the most notorious earmarks of all time, the Alaska "bridge to nowhere," which if Stevens had his druthers, would have soaked the American people at large to the tune of about $320 million.
Stevens is a fake Republican who has not in recent memory been true to the tenets of the party: limiting the vast scope of government and its expense.
The founding fathers envisioned a political system in which individuals would receive a small stipend for a brief period of public service before returning to their formerly established professions. This basic tenet of government service has systematically been destroyed. Today's norm is the highly compensated elected official who has profited mightily from his time in government, who uses the vast power which comes with the incumbency to squelch challengers and to serve for life, a reality which breeds arrogance, insulation from the electorate that he or she would purport to serve, and often, the irresistible impulse to be corrupt and to steal.
There is no guarantee that a short-time elected official will be honest and trustworthy, but the chances that they will be are much greater. Whatever the outcome of the Stevens case, it is my hope that he will give up, or will be forced to give up his stranglehold on the U.S. Senate.
The people of Alaska deserve a real Republican Senator. The people of Alaska deserve better than Ted Stevens.
Oren M. Spiegler
Upper Saint Clair, Pa.