Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Obey gone 

Rep. David Obey (D-WI), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced that he will retire at the end of his current term.

Obey is 71 years old, and has served in Congress since he was 30 years old. I think it is fair to describe him as a professional politician, and he is undoubtedly knowledgeable about the ways of the Hill. But 40 years in the House? Even opponents of term limits, self-imposed or otherwise, would need to elaborate on the benefits of one person holding a seat in the People's House (as compared to the Senate) for that long.

It may be that Obey did not like his chances against Republican challenger Sean Duffy this year. It may be that Obey thought his re-election was fairly likely, but that he did not want to be in the minority again; if so, he is more pessimistic than Intrade, which has a Republican takeover of the House as slightly less than a coin flip (buy at 49.7, sell at 47.1).

Politico has these insights:
Despite poor polls at home, Obey insisted he could still win reelection in November. But he admitted he feared another reapportionment fight in the next Congress and believed the nation had turned against the aggressive public investments that have been his trademark.

“I do not want to be in the position, as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, of producing and defending lowest-common-denominator legislation that is inadequate to that task,” Obey said. “And given the mood of the country, that is what I would have to do if I stayed.”
Well, you can't blame a man for being tired of making sausage, especially when the process gets smellier over time and the quality of the meat suffers. It wasn't exactly the high-quality bratwurst that they make in Sheboygan, in Obey's home state (it makes me hungry just linking to that site).

Exit questions: does Obey's retirement mean that a loss of Democratic control of the House is more likely? Is that loss, if it happens, actually a good thing for President Obama in 2012, providing him with an opponent (other than his actual opponent) to run against?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu May 06, 12:08:00 AM:

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!!! These dem politicians who can't work with a black president are racist scum!! Sure, if there were a white president, they'd soldier on, but rather than work with a negro president, they'll bail!! Lincoln prevailed against dem racists; it appears that the Kenyan can't.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu May 06, 12:42:00 AM:

With jewel encrusted platinum retirement program the Congress has I'm not surprised that he retired. The shenanigans of Congress have put me on the 'work-til-you-die" retirement plan but who knows, ObamaCare may provide me with a early retirement option.  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Thu May 06, 09:08:00 AM:

Re exit questions:

Dems lose the House with or without Obey.

Is loss of the House good for 0bama in 2012? Too early to to tell.  

By Anonymous Dave Schuler, at Thu May 06, 12:02:00 PM:

The advantage is that due to the way the House committee system works, the longer you've been in, the greater the likelihood of your getting an important chairmanship like Appropriations or Ways and Means.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu May 06, 04:18:00 PM:

Democrats lose both houses in 2010, Republicans repeal ObamaCare in 2011, Obama vetoes repeal and solidifies his place as a one-term president.  

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