Time Magazine Names Colo. Senator Allard Among Nation's 5 Worst
5:05 AM, Apr 16, 2006
Time magazine ranks members of the 109th Congress in the issue published for the week of April 16, and a Colorado senator is ranked among the five worst in the nation.In response to Time magazine's article, Sean Conway of Sen. Wayne Allard's office said, "I believe the vast majority of Coloradans would respectfully disagree with what the magazine had to say."The U.S. Senate is comprised of two types of individuals: work horses and show horses. Senator Allard is proud to be a work horse who is more interested in getting things done for Colorado than getting attention from the national media."Senator Allards work in getting things done for Colorado over the last nine years speaks for itself, whether it is the successful clean up and closure of Rocky Flats, passage of his legislation to create the nations newest national park, the Great Sand Dunes National Park, passage of the American Dream Downpayment Act or his successful efforts to ensure Colorado received the highest increase of any state in transportation funding in last year's highway bill. These are but a few of his many accomplishments."As a member of the GOP whip team since 2003, a selected group of only 10 members, Senator Allard works very closely with the Senate leadership, which allows him to quietly get things accomplished for Colorado."His record of accomplishments is why Coloradans re-elected him by a wide margin in 2002 and why Senator Allard's office is the go-to office for Coloradans who care about getting things done for the state."The magazine article ranks the top 10, the bottom five, and the five up-and-comers from the freshman class in the U.S. Senate."There is no fixed journey to greatness in the Senate. Instead there is a whole variety of skills that America's senators have developed over 218 years to help them raise and spend tax dollars, oversee the operation of government and, in the case of the best among them, pass laws that benefit their constituents, their country and the world," Time's Massimo Calabresi and Perry Bacon Jr. write in the introduction to the magazine's package.Time spoke to dozens of academics, political scientists and current and former U.S. senators to pick the 10 best of the 109th Congress.One made it because he puts unsexy but important issues on the national agenda, another because his backroom negotiating turns conflict into consensus. A third got on the list for his diligent bird-dogging of Enron, Homeland Security and the Pentagon. Then there's the prodigious across-the-aisle dealer, the fierce defender of her constituents and the expert who sees around corners."As with any all-star team, we sought a broad range of gifts rather than settling on 10 great pitchers or middle linebackers. They say the Senate is the world's most exclusive club. But the real élite is made up not of those who break in but of those who make a difference once they get there. Here are 10 who do," Calabresi and Bacon write.The top 10 list includes Senators John McCain of Arizona, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Carl Levin of Michigan, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Richard Durbin of Illinois and Kent Conrad of North Dakota.Time magazine also named the nation's five worst senators. One's in trouble with the law; another is congenitally hostile. The other three have all found ways to live up to the advice one forgettable lawmaker gave the young Gary Hart when Hart arrived in 1975 -- If you want to stay in the Senate, he said, "Don't do anything."The five worst include Senators Wayne Allard of Colorado, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Conrad Burns of Montana, and Mark Dayton of Minnesota.Time identifies five freshman up-and-comers in the Senate. While they're still in their first terms, these five senators have turned heads already by learning a specialty or helping to broker peace in an angry capital.The five up-and-comers include Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Lindsey Graham, Mark Pryor and John Sununu.
Top 10 U.S. Senators
Thad Cochran (Mississippi): "The Quiet Persuader" -- As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which decides how Congress doles out money, Cochran wields considerable power on Capitol Hill, particularly on budget issues. But along with that post, the Mississippi Republican has gained the trust of the Administration and Capitol Hill for his quiet, courtly manner that is evident whether he is playing the piano in his office or using his experience and mastery of the issues to persuade his colleagues privately rather than make demands on them in public, Time reports.
Kent Conrad (North Dakota): "The Statistician" -- Conrad long ago took the advice that party leaders give Senate newcomers: pick one area and master it. Over 20 years, Conrad, the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, has made himself the king of that most important part of the Senate's business -- raising and spending the taxpayers' money, Time reports.
Dick Durbin (Illinois): "The Debater" -- On issues from immigration reform to judicial nominees, the Illinois Democrat frequently engages in public back-and-forth with his Senate colleagues in hearings and before votes -- and rarely uses notes to do it. And while the debates don't often change the votes of other members, Durbin's tough questioning of his colleagues and his willingness to defend his proposals clarify and distill complicated issues for the C-SPAN-viewing public, Time reports.
Ted Kennedy (Massachusetts): "The Dealmaker" -- Over 43 years in the Senate, Democrat Ted Kennedy has fought serial battles on behalf of the working class -- from defending overtime pay and workplace-safety regulations to expanding health care and penalizing discrimination. But the key to his legacy is not that he is determined to stick up for his principles. It's that he is willing to compromise on them, Time reports.
Jon Kyl (Arizona): "The Operator" -- In just two terms, Arizona's No. 2, Jon Kyl, 63, has blossomed in the shade of John McCain. As head of the Republican Policy Committee, the ultraconservative Kyl is in charge of shaping the Republican agenda in the Senate on everything from abortion and judicial appointments to national security and tax cuts, Time reports.
Carl Levin (Michigan): "The Bird-Dogger" -- Michigan Democrat Carl Levin has gained respect from both parties for his attention to detail and deep knowledge of policy, especially in his role as a vigilant monitor of businesses and federal agencies. Although admired by many Republicans for his diligence, Levin rarely sides with them. But his carefully researched, thoughtful remarks carry great weight with his colleagues, Time reports.
Richard Lugar (Indiana): "The Wise Man" -- "He is a quiet, intelligent, steady force," says former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey. But make no mistake, Kerrey adds: "He's unmovable when he reaches a conclusion about what ought to be done." It's also a bonus that Lugar's thinking has often proved to be ahead of the curve, Time reports.
John McCain (Arizona): "The Mainstreamer" -- Republican Sen. John McCain has that rare ability to put an issue on the U.S. agenda that wouldn't naturally be there. Scholar Norman Ornstein says McCain will be remembered as "one of the few people who can have great impact in the Senate," Time reports.
Olympia J. Snowe (Maine): "The Provider" -- Because of her centrist views and eagerness to get beyond partisan point scoring, Maine Republican Olympia Snowe is in the center of every policy debate in Washington. But while Snowe is a major player on national issues, she is also known as one of the most effective advocates for her constituents, Time reports.
Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania): "The Contrarian" -- Plenty of people succeed in politics by being everyone's friend. It takes a special talent to make it as a guy whom allies call "abrasive," "brutal" and "prosecutorial." Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is known for being blunt, not sparing even members of his own party. Says his former chief of staff David Urban: "You can find a lot of people who don't like Arlen Specter, but you can't find anyone who doesn't respect him."
Five Worst U.S. Senators
Daniel Akaka (Hawaii): "Master of the Minor" -- By all accounts, Daniel Akaka is an affectionate and earnest man. As a legislator, though, Akaka is living proof that experience does not necessarily yield expertise. After 16 years on the job, the junior senator from Hawaii is a master of the minor resolution and the bill that dies in committee, Time reports.
Wayne Allard (Colorado): "The Invisible Man" -- In a Senate full of ambitious members, Colorado Republican Wayne Allard is so bland that his critics have dubbed him "Dullard." Now in his 10th year, Allard almost never plays a role in major legislation, even though he's on two key Senate committees, Budget and Appropriations. His kind of anonymity makes him one of the least influential senators, Time reports.
Jim Bunning (Kentucky): "The Underperformer" -- Before he entered politics, Kentucky Republican Jim Bunning was an outstanding baseball pitcher who was inducted into the Hall of Fame. But so far the burly right-hander has struck out in his seven years in the Senate. In addition to being hostile to staff members on the Hill and occasionally even other senators, Bunning shows little interest in policy unless it involves baseball, according to congressional experts and colleagues, Time reports.
Conrad Burns (Montana): "The Shock Jock" -- As the Republican chairman of an Appropriations and a Commerce subcommittee, he has plenty of power, and he has used it over his 17 years in Washington to bring $2 billion to Montana. Yet the former Marine is in trouble. For starters, he is serially offensive. As for legislating, the former farm-radio broadcaster's record over three terms is meager. Burns' real problem, however, is not with making law but with staying on the right side of it. Federal investigators are looking into his ties to Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who has admitted bribing lawmakers, Time reports.
Mark Dayton (Minnesota): "The Blunderer" -- When he was elected in 2000, Minnesota Democrat Mark Dayton seemed well prepared, having worked as an aide to Walter Mondale in the 1970s. But he has exhibited erratic behavior since then. Inside the Senate, Dayton has passed few bills partly because some are too liberal for the Republican-controlled body. He announced early last year that he wouldn't seek re-election, Time reports.
Five Up-And-Coming U.S. Senators
Hillary Clinton: The record of candidate Clinton may be controversial, but in her six short years New York Democratic Sen. Clinton, 58, has earned respect from both parties. Assigned to the Armed Services Committee, she has mastered issues like how to retain Guard and Reserve troops, pushed through legislation educating military families on insurance scams and funded measures to help supply flu vaccine. She has also leveraged her national clout to spotlight important terrorism issues with narrow followings -- like the vulnerability of nuclear plants.
Lindsey Graham: Replacing South Carolina's aged Strom Thurmond, Republican Graham, 50, was every bit the contrast -- boyish, fast talking and a maverick. He hit the national stage as a House manager in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, but in the Senate he has bucked the Bush White House on its treatment of detainees and no-warrant wiretapping. He's effective, pushing through a bill last year to expand health care for the Guard and the Reserve. But his strength is stepping up to a big moral issue, like how far to go in the war on terrorism, and making his voice heard.
Barack Obama: The Illinois Democrat rode into town with a halo and has worked hard ever since to prove he's a mere mortal. Obama, 44, has focused on important but low-profile issues, such as making sure the U.S. is prepared for an outbreak of avian flu and securing nuclear-weapon stockpiles in the former Soviet Union. He has reached so often across the aisle on, say, controlling Hurricane Katrina spending, that some Democrats complain he won't be their firebrand.
Mark Pryor: The scion of a popular Democratic Arkansas political family, Pryor, 43, made his mark in 2005, supplanting old-timers like Joe Lieberman and Robert Byrd to take a leading role in the centrist "Gang of 14" that defused the crisis over judicial filibusters. He impressed Senate watchers by his ability to keep Democratic leader Harry Reid fully informed and happy at the same time. Watch for Pryor, who voted with President Bush 58 percent of the time in 2005, to emerge as a key swing vote and voice for Third Way Democrats.
John E. Sununu: Only 41 years old, the New Hampshire Republican is the youngest member of the Senate, but that hasn't limited his reach. Sununu played a major role this year on the lobbying-reform legislation, and he got the Bush Administration to make some crucial changes in the Patriot Act before he voted to reauthorize it. The son of former White House chief of staff John H. Sununu, he has become a well-respected fiscal conservative, last fall calling for cuts in nearly every part of the budget to offset spending for Hurricane Katrina.