Former South Carolina Senator Ernest Frederick "Fritz" Hollings came to the Senate in 1966 and retired in 2004, at the age of 82. Still sharp and spirited, he knows better than most what ails our politics today.
There is a cancer on the body politic: money.
Those words come from a lucid and must-read op-ed published today in the Washington Post.
The Senate used to be in session from Monday morning until Friday afternoon, working on the people's business. Today the average Senator spends nearly one-third of their time raising money.
The late senator Richard Russell of Georgia said a senator was given a six-year term -- two years to be a statesman, two to be a politician and two to demagogue. Now we take all six years to raise money.
Hollings's solution to this monstrous problem couldn't be more straight forward:
What is needed is a simple one-line amendment to the Constitution. It would authorize Congress to regulate or control spending in federal elections.
Because, as he notes:
The money crowd has the money, and representatives and senators need the money. But no one wants to touch the reason for the ethical misconduct. Excise the cancer of money, and most of the misconduct will disappear.