Former Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, has put on a suit nine times since 2014, when he retired after serving in Congress for 40 years. He counts.
He spends much of his time in the Bahamas now, where he sails and rarely looks back at his years in the Senate with any wistfulness.
“People hang on because they want to get something else done,” he said in an interview last year, “but that’s the story of life, isn’t it?”
Giving up the power, perks and prestige of serving in Congress, while confronting the reality that everyone is ultimately replaceable, isn’t always so easy. And politics at its highest levels tends to attract people who consider their job their identity — Senator Dianne Feinstein refers to hers as a “calling” — and who are afflicted with an inability to imagine a life after giving it up.
History is littered with lawmakers who have stayed around well past their primes; assurances from former colleagues like Mr. Harkin that there’s a nice life to…
This article was written by Annie Karni and originally published on www.nytimes.com