At the height of their power, the Democrats decamp
You’ve been a member of the House of Representatives for 40 years, you have attained the august position of chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and you’re relatively youthful looking, with a full, sweeping head of mostly brown hair. Your party has an overwhelming majority in the House and the Senate and can do just about anything it likes. A charismatic, progressive president of your party entered office a year ago, and the Democratic Congress and president are in a position to enact a nation-changing Democratic agenda that will equal or surpass the New Deal and the Great Society.
Poised at the brink of this world-historic achievement, what do you do?
You announce that you’re not running for re-election.
I am speaking of David Obey, left-wing Democratic congressman from Wisconsin since before anyone can remember. Instead of eagerly looking forward to following up the stimulus and Obamacare with further great Democratic legislation, he’s leaving Congress. What happened?
Kathyrn Jean Lopez at the Corner explains Obey’s retirement thus:
Meanwhile, I think David Obey told us today that there’s little to no doubt in his mind that Democrats will be in the minority come January.It looks as though the Democrats are poised at the brink, not of a historic achievement, but of a historic train wreck—which has been brought about by their very victory and the truth about them which it revealed. .
By the way, we need a one-word way of saying, “not running for re-election.” “Retiring” is not correct, because it implies you have a secure job which you would continue to have absent the positive act of leaving it, whereas in fact Obey must be re-elected to his job in order to continue to have it. I think the absence of a convenient, one-word way of saying “not running for re-election” leads people to say incorrectly, as I said above, that David Obey is “retiring” from the House, or that Evan Bayh is “stepping down” from the Senate.