Bingaman ponders reelection bid

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U.S. Senate has become a far less admirable institution

By Hal Rhodes

We have become such a rancorous lot, we Americans.
Perhaps that’s why many New Mexicans had a moment’s pause when Jeff Bingaman recently let it be known that he is thinking about not seeking another term in the U.S. Senate come 2012.
Bingaman is that rare political figure who rarely blows his cool, an isle of balance and sanity in a sea of roiling political waters.
Where others in his line of work seem unable to suppress their impulse for grandstanding and bombast when opportunity presents itself, the state’s senior senator manages routinely to hold his tongue and bide his time before calmly entering the fray.
Consider the bedlam inside the Beltway last week after President Obama and Republican congressional leaders unveiled their perhaps ill-fated deal to extend Bush-era tax cuts and long term unemployment benefits, among other matters, including a one-year reduction in Social Security payroll taxes.
The media were instantly awash in tales of congressional Democrats’ anger at their president for agreeing to a two-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making over $250,000 a year.    

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