Saturday, February 03, 2018

More And More Republicans Are Running For The Exits-- Not For Reelection


I liked Deirdre Shesgreen's style at a USAToday piece this week, House Republicans are retiring in droves. What's pushing them out?. Great line to describe congressional Republicans in the Trump Era: "Forget running for re-election. House Republicans are running for the exits instead." [I wonder if Señor Trumpanzee thinks he can appoint Kushner-in-law to full all of those congressional seats. A congressional GOP staffer told me his knowledge of how the American government works has increased over the last year from that of a third grader to that of a fifth grader. "Paul," in reference to Speaker Ryan, "is tutoring him," he told me with a straight face.]

Not counting the Republicans forced out by scandal-- Tim Murphy (PA), Trent Franks (AZ), Blake Farenthold (TX) , Joe Barton (TX) and Pat Meehan (PA) and the ones who left for jobs in Trumpville or to take other jobs of run for senator-- Evan Jenkins (WV), Lou Barletta (PA), Jim Renacci (OH), Luke Messer (IN), Todd Rokita (IN), Martha McSally (AZ), Marsha Blackburn (TN) or governor-- Diane Black (TN), Steve Pearce (NM), Ron DeSantis (FL), Kristi Noem (SD), Raul Labrador(ID)-- there are 19 Republicans heading for the hills, including 9 committee chairs (asterisks):
Trey Gowdy* (SC)
Bill Shuster* (PA)
Bob Goodlatte* (VA)
Rodney Frelinghuysen* (NJ)
Lamar Smith* (TX)
Ed Royce* (CA)
Gregg Harper* (MS)
Jeb Hensarling* (TX)
Sam Johnson* (TX)
Charlie Dent (PA
Darrell Issa (CA)
Dave Reichert (WA)
Dave Trott (MI)
Lynn Jenkins (KS)
Ted Poe (TX)
Jim Bridenstine (OK)
John Duncan (TN)
Ileana Ros-Lehtnen (FL)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ)
Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Shesgreen wrote that "all told, 41 Republican House members have said they will either retire or seek another office"-- almost 4 times the number of Democrats... and it's not all members who got caught screwing their staffers. "[N]ine are influential committee chairmen who, like Gowdy, are leaving with no scandal afoot. So what’s pushing these gavel-wielding lawmakers out the House door?"
A toxic stew of congressional dysfunction, perilous electoral prospects, term limits on committee chairmen and an increasingly rightward tilting party with a president widely seen as erratic at its helm.

“Washington’s not a very pleasant place for anybody,” said former representative Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican who retired in 2008 after 14 years in the House. “The polarization and all the gamesmanship” can be grinding, Davis said, and the rewards aren’t very sweet these days.

“The public hates you,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you don’t get re-elected, but you’re not getting great outcomes.”

Just look at Congress’ legislative plate right now: a spending standoff that threatens a second government shutdown in a matter of weeks, an explosive immigration debate with no clear solution and a presidential infrastructure proposal that appears dead on arrival.

Another helping, anyone?

“There is a time to come and a time to go,” Gowdy tweeted Wednesday. The former federal prosecutor said he wanted to leave politics and return to the justice system.

“Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system,” he said in a statement.

Gowdy’s announcement came on the heels of two others: Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Pat Meehan  said he would not run for re-election last week after news emerged that a former aide had accused him of sexual harassment. And on Monday, New Jersey Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen announced that he would also retire rather than seek another term in November. Frelinghuysen last year became chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, once considered the most powerful perch in Congress.

But with earmarks banned-- making it nearly impossible to bring home pet projects or use the promise of them as leverage in negotiations-- and spending bills mired in the legislative mud, the committee has lost some of its luster. And Frelinghuysen’s decision was at least in part a nod to the electoral landscape.

Democrats are hoping to ride a wave of anti-Trump anger to regain the House majority in November. Frelinghuysen would have faced a tough re-election in his swing New Jersey district, where several Democrats were already lining up to challenge him.

The party that controls the White House generally loses seats in the midterm elections, and several nonpartisan political analysts believe that President Trump’s dismal approval ratings will be a significant added drag on Republican congressional candidates.

David Wasserman, a political analyst with the non-partisan Cook Political Report, said a wave election dissent may already be forming, giving lawmakers a heads up to get out of the way.

“In past cycles when the House has changed parities, members haven’t seen it coming until a couple months out,” Wasserman said. “The difference is now Republicans have a choice between filing for re-election or retiring or running for other office. And many of them are deciding that it’s not worth trying to ride this out.”

Even those in safe House seats aren’t sure they want to stay in office if it means being in the minority, Wasserman said. In the House, the minority has almost no power to influence legislation or set the agenda.

Davis agreed and said some Republicans have become “uncomfortable” with the party, as it has shifted rightward and now is led by Trump.

“This is not the party that they grew up with,” Davis said. “The Republican base had kind of rotated from the country club to the country.”

Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the House Republican campaign committee, rejected the suggestion that Republicans were leaving because their party was about to be out of power.

“The vast majority of retirements are term-limited chairmen who hail from deeply Republican districts,” Hunt said. [Trump has made lying fashionable in the GOP. 9 is not the vast majority of 41.]

In the House, Republicans operate under rules that limit committee chairman to six years no matter how long they serve in Congress. Wasserman and others agree that dynamic is playing a role in driving even powerful and safely ensconced lawmakers out.

“Many members spend years in Congress climbing up the ranks to become a committee chair, but if you’re termed out after a couple cycles, you can suddenly find yourself with less power,” said Wasserman. “Upward mobility is essential to many members.”

Davis said that rule was imposed in the 1990s because committee chairman had become too powerful. But it inadvertently made congressional leaders too powerful, and the legislative process has suffered as a result.

Add the gridlock and partisanship, Davis said, and the job just isn’t appealing anymore.

“You wait, sitting around all day, waiting for the deal and then I vote yes or no. That’s it,” he said. “That’s why I left. You look at this and you say, 'Geez, what am I doing here?'"
Devin Nunes is not retiring. Neither is, for example, Matt Gaetz (R-FL), another unaccomplished crackpot. That's what we're going to be stuck with when all the mainstream conservatives leave: Nunes and Gaetz-- and that really will be the end of the United States of America. And Putin will have won... entirely. Right-wing former congressman, Joe Walsh (R-IL): "The Nunes I knew was a purely partisan animal. When it comes to exercising good judgment and discharging his duties in service of the Constitution, he’s just not up to the task... My former colleague doesn't seem to grasp what his job in Congress is." Jimmy Kimmel had a perspective on this last night, at least on the Nunes part.

I was in Germany visiting the Warner affiliate there. The greatest boxer in the country, Henry Maske, was retiring and Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman performed "Time To Say Goodbye" at his last fight. OK, the song went to #1 and started selling like hotcakes... but that doesn't even give you more than a clue about what happened. How about this? The biggest-selling song in the history of Belgium? Within 2 months of the match the song broke the all-time sales record in Germany and was eventually certified 11 times platinum. It quickly went to #1 in Switzerland, Austria, France and Ireland. Anyway, our German company offered it to me (free) for the U.S. I brought it back to Warner Bros and the promotion department and A&R department all gave it a thumbs down. I thought they were crazy, but they said Americans would never listen to something so strange-- foreign languages, opera... German boxer. I went on KSCA, a triple A station near my office (where Nicole Sandler was working), and did a guest slot for a couple of hours. I started the show with "Time To Say Goodbye." The rest of the show was people calling up and asking me to play it again, some of them tearfully. By the very end of the show they were still calling. I did play it at the end of the show. Here it is-- for Paul Ryan, who is trying to decide when he'll announce that he's headed for the hills as well. (Oh-- and my promotion department was technically correct. Another company put it out and had only moderate success with it, although Donna Summer covered stand it hit #1 on the dance charts. It was also used on Madagascar 3 and was sung on several episodes of America's Got Talent, several times on The Sopranos and once each on Sesame Street and The Simpsons. Also Mixed Martial Arts fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama uses the song as his entrance music.

Years later I was flying to Europe and some guy was singing behind me late at night when I was trying to sleep. I called the attendant over to shut him up. And, yes, it was Andrea Bocelli.

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At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing will change in this shithole until republicans HAVE to run, en masse, to Argentina for asylum (following Adolph Eichmann et al).

As long as any republican can still get elected, this shithole will remain a shithole.

Same goes for democraps.


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