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It's beginning to look a bit like 1994

Sure are a lot of House Democrats announcing their retirements these days. Four isn't 15, but there's another year until the election.

I'd be curious to know, however, whether there's any evidence that retiring legislators, and legislators who think they might lose, act differently than legislators who expect to return in January of 2011. After all, if you either know you won't be coming back or worry you won't be coming back, won't you be a bit more solicitous to the interests that might hire you for your next job?

By Ezra Klein  |  December 15, 2009; 2:24 PM ET
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Important part:

"With Gordon, Democrats are now defending 11 open seats, seven of which are considered genuinely competitive. House Republican retirements stand at 12, with four of those likely to be targeted by the two national parties."

Most of the GOPers who have "retired" are acutally running for other offices: Gov and Sen. But not all of them are favorites in those runs, and some of them look to be getting out while the getting is good.

Many of the Dems are doing the same, and some of them in relatively "safe" districts.


Posted by: toshiaki | December 15, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

There is in fact political science research on this point. I can't recall the pieces on it off the top of my head, but you should be able to find them with a simple search on JSTOR.

Posted by: valeskoi | December 15, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

You just wait. With the right foaming at the mouth, and the left let down by the total unwillingness to fight, it will be bloodbath. But at least the wonks will be able to blame the dirty f'in hippies.

Posted by: AZProgressive | December 15, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that they've all been Blue Dogs. I doubt they'll be missed. Blue Dogs--they're never there when you need them.

I find the view of AZ Progressive interesting, but don't you think that your view is myopic? How will the right feel after losing on health care, immigration, climate change (by either Congress or the EPA, it's going to happen one way or the other)? And how will it look when the economy is recovering next year, after the GOP has invested so much capital in arguing that Obama's ruining it?

Posted by: TheLev | December 15, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I disagree that it is like 1994. If the jobless rate improves, which makes sense given the history of recessions and economic recoveries, then this should help stem the losses of seats to GOP.

Posted by: RandomWalk1 | December 15, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"if you either know you won't be coming back or worry you won't be coming back, won't you be a bit more solicitous to the interests that might hire you for your next job?"

I think it's the complete opposite- you are less beholden to the lobbyists that keep you in your current job.

Posted by: staticvars | December 15, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING... Howard Dean: "Kill the Senate bill"
by John Aravosis (DC) on 12/15/2009 02:56:00 PM
A huge exclusive for the Plum Line:

“This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.”

Posted by: obrier2 | December 15, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

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