JL Wilson reckons, rightly I think, that there are no Senators fit for their offices http://independentcountry.blogspot.com/2006/06/every-single-one-is-rotten.html. In comments, Dr Lenny seconds the sentiment and points out that, but for Ron Paul, the same can be said of the House of Reprehensibles.
I have been thinking of ways to change the system so that we would have a better Congress. I previously opined that a random lottery would result in a Congress at least as good as the one we have through elections. And because there would be no campaigns, the members would not be beholden to campaign contributors. Any money they got from anyone would be a bribe and could not plausibly be characterized as innocent campaign support. Come to think of it, the lottery would result in a better Congress since the odds would be against selection of anyone who wanted the job bad enough to campaign for it.
There are several other ways that we might assemble a Congress that is no worse than what we have now without the expense and invitation to corruption that come with elections. For example, the oldest person in each Congressional district could be made Congressvarmints, and the two oldest in the state could be Senators. Let them serve for life (it won’t be long). Everyone would get a chance with clean living and luck to live long enough to serve, and since they will likely already be retired no working person would be inconvenienced by serving. A lot more women will be in office under this system since they tend to live longer than men.
The hereditary principle could be used with no ill effect on the quality of Congress. Have a final election or other mechanism where the officeholders are selected for life and let their seats be passed down in their families through primogeniture through either males or females until their families go extinct.
Or legislators could be chosen by having candidates fight it out in a cage or by a foot race or a game of nine ball. What do these skills have to do with being a good legislator? What does being a good campaigner and money raiser have to do with legislating? At least wrestling, running and nine ball don’t make you inherently unfit for the job you are seeking.
The recurrent theme in these schemes for selection is avoiding elections and campaigns. The democratic process is guaranteed to produce a collection of wankers just like we have now.