Voters are in a surly mood this year. Familiarity breeds contempt, and familiar faces become stale. Voters will be imposing term limits this year.
Incumbency and career politician may become, like TARP, a 4 letter word.
Pennsylvania and Virginia voters threw out incumbents, at the state and Congressional level, in the past decade – incumbents who seemed more interested in entrenching and enriching themselves than representing the people.
Some saw the writing on the wall, and fell on their own swords.
Leaders of this pack include Senators Chris Dodd (6 years in the House and 30 in the Senate) and Bryan Dorgan (12 House and 18 Senate), and Representatives Bart Stupak, David Obey (elected to Congress in 1969), Bart Gordon (26) years, and Eric Massa.
Congressman John Murtha (36 years in Congress) avoided this fate by dying from complications following surgery. It may have been medical malpractice that killed him, although ethical issues were catching up to him. He wasn’t as quick as he used to be.
Senator Robert Bennett (18 years in the Senate) and Congressman Alan Mullohan (36 years in Congress) fell in the primary season. They won’t be the last.
Others, such as Governor Jon Corzine, were shown the door. Attorney General Martha Coakley, the anointed one in Massachusetts, lost the Kennedy seat.
Some are dead men walking, but are in denial, such as Harry Reid, Arlen Specter, Michael Bennett, Charlie Crist.
Senator Blanche Lincoln is stuck between Scylla and Charybdis, the primary challenge Tuesday from the far left and the general election in November, from the right. She won’t survive.
Congressman Jim Matheson faces the same hurdles in Utah. It didn’t help that he was apparently trading a vote for the President’s Health reform plan in exchange for a federal judgeship for his brother, although he did vote against the final bill.
Senator Barbara Boxer (first elected to Congress in 1982) is on the endangered list.
Long term House barons, such as Ike Skelton (33 years in Congress), are out of touch with their districts. Congressman Skelton did not help his case last October by telling a Republican Congressman from Missouri to “stick it up your ass.”
The host of new, conservative Democrats elected over the past 4 years, who turned liberal this past year, can pack their bags. Landslide Tom Perriello (727 vote margin) is history. To quote Bob Dylan, “it’s all over now Baby Blue.”
Those who flipped on either health care or abortion are endangered. Congresswoman Suzanna Kosmas may be retiring home to Florida sooner than she expected.
Senator Specter (30 years in the Senate) has, of course, conveniently flipped on almost everything, except himself.
Senator John McCain (first elected in Congress in 1982) is suddenly against immigration reform, at least in the Arizona Republican primary.
Congressman Alan Grayson is hopefully on the list.
If the African Americans in Harlem are as fed up with their corrupt Representative Charles Rangel (40 years in Congress) as were the African Americans in New Orleans with the indicted and convicted William Jefferson, then Congressman Rangel (40 years in Congress) will lose the primary to Adam Clayton Powell IV. However, Vietnamese American Congressman Joseph Cao will probably not be reelected in his heavily Democratic District. Little Saigon is in Orange County, not Louisiana.
Even rock hard, elected for life Democrats in Massachusetts, such as Representative Niki Tsongas, are running scared. Politicians for life, such as the once and perhaps future Governor Of California, may lose their last campaiogn this November.
To quote my favorite Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."