Yet Another House Republican to Retire

Charlie Cook says that it's "very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don't lose the House." The Republicans in the House apparently don't agree with him, though, as evidenced by the continuing trend of party incumbents opting to leave the House instead of waiting around for the GOP's supposedly imminent return to power in the chamber. Here's the latest.

Veteran Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.), an early ally of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and an outspoken fiscal conservative, announced Saturday he was retiring.

Linder disclosed his decision at a Republican breakfast in his district and party officials in Washington confirmed the news.

The 18-year congressman represents a heavily Republican seat in the sprawling suburbs east of Atlanta that is likely to stay in GOP hands.

This district isn't competitive, you say, so why does it matter whether one Republican is going to be swapped out for another? It matters a great deal, in fact.

To flesh out what I stated above, and what I've said before, if House Republicans really believed that they were on the verge of retaking the chamber, they wouldn't be retiring. Take the retiring John Linder, for example. Linder is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, and as a ranking member of one of its subcommittees would stand to earn a coveted chairmanship if the Republicans were to retake the House. Yet he's leaving rather than wait less than a year for something that's supposedly a sure thing -- the GOP winning control of the House?

Actions speak louder than words. When Republicans like Congressman Linder -- and a dozen and a half of his compatriots -- decide to leave the House, it says loud and clear that they don't think their party is going to win back the House in November, no matter what Charlie Cook or anyone else has to say.

Tags: Retirements, House 2010 (all tags)




Wasn't Cook basing that analysis on linear extrapolation trendline?

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-27 04:04PM | 0 recs
other reasons

Most members are not basing their decisions this early based on what they think will happen in November. I mean, by exension, your argument would be that all of the Blue Dog's that are retiring are doing so because they think the Dems will lose the majority. Retirements don't seem out of the ordinary from other years, and they are pretty much the same, about 15 seats on both sides.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-02-27 04:10PM | 0 recs
the flip side

Was looking a bit more into the issue of open seats and came across this Sabato site article


Based on the evidence presented in this article, open seats appear to have little or no influence on the outcomes of House elections. Rather, seat swing in these elections is a reflection of other factors such as the number of seats each party holds going into the election, the national political environment and the normal tendency of voters to turn against the president’s party in midterm elections. These factors suggest that Democrats are likely to suffer losses in the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. Based on the most recent Gallup Poll presidential approval and generic ballot results, a loss of between 20 and 30 seats would be expected. The actual results will depend on political conditions next fall. They will not depend on how many Democratic and Republican incumbents choose to retire in the next few months.

Another one, that looked at the '94 results:

There were actually 31 open seats for the Democratic Party.  Of these, only nine were retained by the Democrats.  The GOP kept 17 of their 21 open House seats in the fold. 

Its really too early to try to make any predictions. Both in 2002 and in 2006, at this point in time prior to the midterm, the CW predictions wound up very wrong. That said, at this point in time, I'd guess the Dems are losing 10-20 seats.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-02-27 04:21PM | 0 recs
RE: the flip side

Jerome, you know if the Dems lose only 20 seats--it's a big win for them.

by esconded 2010-02-27 05:50PM | 0 recs
RE: the flip side

Nah, losing 20 seats would be a disaster. To go from a 38ish seat margin to a 18ish seat margin would look like gridlock. I realize that the Republican House did a whole lot with a 10-20 seat margin in 2000-2006, but Dems there, especially the Blue Dogs don't have anywhere near as effective a whip.

Of course, it all depends on which 20 seats those are too. If they are mostly Blue Dog Dems, then a 18ish seat margin would work, but not a big win.

A big win is something like what Bush and the Republicans pulled off in '02, or what Clinton and the Dems pulled off in '98.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-02-27 09:23PM | 0 recs
RE: the flip side

I was saying losing 20 seats would be be a big win against expectations.  And there was never a progressive majority in the House.  I think there will be a lot fewer Blue Dogs in 2011, but progressives will lose at least a few seats.  Progressives need to grow their numbers, and need a much improved messaging system.


by esconded 2010-02-27 10:51PM | 0 recs
A big win for who?


by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-27 11:20PM | 0 recs
RE: the flip side

I would be thrilled if we only lost 10-20 seats. I think 20-30 is much more likely, and I would not be surprised if we lost the House.

by desmoinesdem 2010-02-27 09:18PM | 0 recs
Not sure if I agree

I tend to favor optimism, at least contrarian optimism, both because I believe pessimists are easily tempted into exaggerating for effect and because electoral pessimism fulfills itself by dampening enthusiasm.  Even so, things rarely go as Republicans predict...

by Endymion 2010-02-27 05:35PM | 0 recs
RE: Yet Another House Republican to Retire

You have to remember that this is the Liberal Blogosphere and any optimism must be shouted down like an unpopular opinion in a Junior College debate class/

by spirowasright 2010-02-27 08:38PM | 1 recs
We're doomed!


And (get ready for it)... it will be all Obama's fault.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-27 11:19PM | 0 recs
RE: Yet Another House Republican to Retire

No optimism from me. However, the events that may conspire to create a GOP House majority or keep the majority in Dem hands played out in February. First the doomsday scenario: I have a liberal guy in my apartment complex who loves snow. He was wishing for a really snowy winter with that stupid idiotic grin on his face. He is a weatherman. I told him bluntly that two more winters like this, it will be the end of Obama Presidency. One more month of this, and more temporary layoffs, plus permanent, it will be the end of Dem congress. He can choose one of the two, a month like Feb 2010 with lots of snow or the Obama Presidency. He wont have the privilege of getting both. So, snow is the first event which hurts.

The second event is the fact that Paterson wont run for the Governor of New York. I think state coattails are a factor. A Paterson candidacy would almost certainly have brought enough Dems down with him in the House and perhaps cost Gillibrand her seat in the Senate and cost the Dems the US Senate. If Cuomo gets in..a Cuomo landslide will probably carry most of the vulnerable congressmen in, and perhaps Gillibrand as well! The Cuomo candidacy would probably mean a loss of 35 seats instead  of 40-45. However, there could still be enough defections after the elections to give the GOP the House...which barring another couple of winters like the one we had in February 2010 could give Obama the Presidency again in 2012.


by Boilermaker 2010-02-28 11:04AM | 0 recs
Still think it's too early to tell…

…because quite a few things haven't played out—key among them healthcare reform. Scott Brown's triumph may have been a signal, but it doesn't have to be a watershed. Sure, if Dems had played hardball last year they wouldn't look like they're running scared right now, but if this year nets things on the Hill that seem quantifiably beneficial, the electorate will probably get behind Dems with a caveat: Continued support only as long as electoral threats produce the desired outcome. Having squandered their majority during Obama's first-year grace period, that's the most anyone can hope for.

by tru blu 2010-02-28 06:04PM | 0 recs


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