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HonestChieffan
12-03-2009, 02:20 PM
Rat, let me introduce ship.


John Tanner's departure alarms Democrats

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/30148.html
PATRICK O'CONNOR & JOSH KRAUSHAAR | 12/3/09 1:38 PM EST

Tennessee Rep. John Tanner's decision to step down at the end of his term has Democrats worried that a trickle of retirements will turn into a flood.


Tennessee Rep. John Tanner’s decision to step down at the end of his term has Democrats worried that a trickle of retirements will turn into a flood.


Democrats won their majority in 2006 — and built on it in 2008 — in large part by running conservative Democrats in Republican-leaning districts. But with Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) and Tanner now heading for the exits, there’s growing concern that the party’s strategy may be unraveling just in time for 2010.


“It’s the beginning of an avalanche on our side,” one Democratic strategist said. “Morale is bad, and we’re seeing guys in their 50s and 60s, who have some time left, who can make some money and have a phase two in their careers.”


Tanner is a godfather of sorts for conservative Democrats, and his announcement comes at a perilous moment for his party. The Democrats’ poll numbers are in decline. Health care reform is stuck in the Senate. And President Barack Obama isn’t the political patron he was a year ago. On top of that, the Democrats no longer have an unpopular Republican president to run against.


Republicans have seen this movie before — and they like being in the audience this time. After losing the House in 2006, the GOP saw 26 of its members call it quits before 2008, and it lost 12 of those open seats. They’re hoping that the Democrats are in for the same treatment now.


“John Tanner’s retirement is not only a blow to Democrats’ chances of holding onto the seat, but it is a symbolic one, as well,” said Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “A well-funded member of the original Blue Dog coalition is throwing in the towel because he sees the writing on the wall.”


The Republicans need to pick up 41 seats to recapture the majority — the same deficit they faced in 1994 when they swept to power. But that’s a tall task even in the most favorable environment. In the past two electoral landslides, Democrats won 30 seats in 2006, followed by a 24-seat pickup two years later.


While members and strategists are waiting for other shoes to drop — Vic Snyder? Ike Skelton? John Spratt? — Democrats say it’s too early to portray the 63-year-old Tanner as some kind of canary in the coal mine.


“It was not a surprise,” said Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democrats’ campaign arm in the House. “I’ve known for some time about the decision and appreciate having a heads-up.”


Van Hollen said other Democratic incumbents could follow Tanner, but he said he doesn’t anticipate a large wave of retirements because most of his colleagues want to see what they can accomplish with Obama.


“In any cycle, you’re going to have individuals who had distinguished careers, like Tanner and Moore, who decide to do something else,” Van Hollen said. “It’s possible there could be a few more of those. ... What we want to avoid is the mass retirements we saw in 1994, and there’s no indication we’re facing anything like that.”


But if senior Democrats in competitive districts follow Tanner’s lead as the political environment erodes, it will create Republican opportunities in unexpected places. Even Van Hollen acknowledged that “if there were a whole lot more [retirements] from very tough districts, that would obviously be concerning.”


Tanner’s departure is also worrisome because he’s come to symbolize the battle-tested House Democrat in a rural, conservative district. A founder of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, Tanner has always been able to navigate through rough political waters since his first election in 1988.


But this year looked like it would mark the end of Tanner’s easy winning streak after a little-known Republican farmer, Stephen Fincher, came out of nowhere to raise more than $300,000, putting Tanner on the Democratic watch list. He has also grown tired of the long commute back home on weekends and wants to be closer to his family after one of his newborn grandchildren suffered a serious heart condition

Royal Fanatic
12-03-2009, 02:23 PM
If the Republicans can manage to stall Cap & Trade and Health Care Reform for a year, maybe Obama and the Democrats won't be able to destroy our economy after all.

At least there's hope on the horizon.

fan4ever
12-03-2009, 06:47 PM
If the Republicans can manage to stall Cap & Trade and Health Care Reform for a year, maybe Obama and the Democrats won't be able to destroy our economy after all.

At least there's hope on the horizon.

From your lips to God's ears...