Monday, October 29, 2007

Time To Say Good-Bye

You may have noticed all those Republican retirements in the news:

Just this past week, Ohio Congressman David Hobson became the latest Republican to announce his exit from the House of Representatives, telling constituents he would step down in 2008 after nine terms.

Two weeks ago, New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici announced he will give up his seat and will not seek a seventh term.Domenici is one of five Republicans retiring from the Senate in 2008 rather than seeking a new term.Wayne Allard of Colorado, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, John W. Warner of Virginia and Larry E.Craig of Idaho already have announced their retirements.

Hobson is the 12th GOP House member to announce retirement plans ahead of the 2008 elections, when the Republican Party will be seeking to reclaim the congressional majorities it lost to Democrats in 2006.

And today Tom Tancredo announced that he plans to leave the House of Representatives:

"It's the fact that I really believe I have done all I can do in the House, especially about the issue about which I care greatly (immigration)," Tancredo, 61, told the newspaper Sunday night.

Atrios asks whether there will be any Republicans left at all. There certainly will be far fewer Republicans with a known reputation and a known list of accomplishments. But there will naturally always be Republicans. I sincerely hope that the new rookie crop of Republican politicians will not consist of stark-crazy fundamentalists or corporate waterboys and watergirls.

It's interesting to speculate about the reason for all these retirements. I remember something similar happening on the Democratic side when the Republicans took over the House. It's hard to play defense if you have always worked offense, and it's hard to be the minority if you are used to bossing everybody around.

A different way of looking at the same question is to point out that losing the majority means that the voters want something different from the Republicans, and that the way to achieve this is by changing the bodies inside the Republican suits.

Either way, the retirements will not hurt the Democrats. Sorry, conventional media.