The editorial from today’s Wall Street Journal is excellent.

Kyl’s Consequences

How to be an effective Senator.

The U.S. Senate has 13 freshmen this year, and we hope more than a few of them have signed up for Jon Kyl’s seminar on how to make a difference in what can be the world’s most dysfunctional body. If it’s not a formal class, it should be.

Mr. Kyl, who announced yesterday that he won’t seek re-election in 2012, has been as consequential as any Republican in Congress over the last decade and a half. The Arizonan, who is now second in the GOP leadership, has made his mark the old fashioned way—by knowing what he is talking about.

He made an impression first by becoming an expert on defense policy and arms control. To the extent the U.S. can defend itself from ballistic missile attack, Mr. Kyl deserves much of the credit. More recently, he dug into the problem of America’s deteriorating nuclear arsenal, forcing President Obama to agree to modernize U.S. warheads if he wanted the Senate to ratify the New Start treaty last year.

After the departure of Phil Gramm in 2002, Mr. Kyl became the leading advocate of pro-growth tax policy on Capitol Hill. In 2005 he single-handedly won the extension of the Bush-era tax rates on investment through 2010, overcoming opposition within the GOP caucus and making December’s bipartisan deal for another two-year extension possible.

With much of the GOP focused on spending cuts above all else, Mr. Kyl’s concern for growth is needed more than ever. His career is proof that you can achieve more as a Senator if you do your homework than if you appear nonstop on cable TV.