There are but two ways members of Congress leave office: through the door or out the window.
Either they walk out on their own – due to scandal or having the good sense to leave on their own terms – or, on rare occasions, voters toss them out on their stumps.
Unfortunately for the republic, it’s usually only the best of the lot who limit their own time in office and leave on their own terms.
There’s no better example of that than Trey Gowdy.
A fiercely upright and principled prosecutor, Gowdy was no doubt a fish out of water in Washington.
He’s coming home to breathe again at the end of his current term.
As the go-to investigator for House Republicans since arriving in the capital in 2011, Gowdy had his hands full trying to keep a continually scandalized and slippery Obama administration honest during the Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS and email scandals, as well as others.
He has done what he could in this bottomless infested swamp.
They don’t give you ticker-tape parades for doing the right thing, and certainly not in our nation’s capital. Instead, for his noble efforts to bring integrity and accountability to the District of Dysfunction, Rep. Gowdy has suffered the backlash of a corrupt and perhaps irreclaimable establishment bent on self-preservation and molten partisanship.
One shudders over what our government would be like without people such as Trey Gowdy. And we can’t help but feel diminished by his impending retirement.
Paradoxically, we most likely need term limits in order to truly drain the swamp – but until there are limits for all members of Congress, it is unfortunately the best ones who limit their own terms. And the country is worse for it.