- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Less than a year ago, Rep. Nancy Pelosi was forced to move across the second floor hall of the Capitol, leaving behind the magnificent speaker’s balcony that overlooks the National Mall. With the possibility of retaking control of the House of Representatives growing more remote by the day, the California Democrat will have to get used to the east-front view of parked cars and the visitors’ center entrance as her Democratic colleagues abandon ship.

Rep. Barney Frank announced Monday that he’s giving up a 30-year hold on his congressional seat, citing a new district and being more effective outside of politics as his motivation. The Massachusetts Democrat is walking away from his position as the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, which he had chaired when the Democrats were in the majority.

Rep. Peter Roskam, the chief deputy whip, thinks there’s more to the story. “If the senior Democrat thinks that he’s on the cusp of returning to the chairmanship of one of the premiere committees in the House, he’s going to stay,” the Illinois Republican told The Washington Times in an interview. And Mr. Frank is not alone leaving Mrs. Pelosi’s charge.

So far, 16 more Democrats have announced they are giving up their seats in 2012. Half are running for higher office, and the rest are just bidding adieu to politics. “Senior Democrats are voting with their feet,” said Mr. Roskam. “They see that President Obama’s promise of 2008 has just faded incredibly quickly. They figured out that the 2012 cycle is likely to be another wave election similar to what we saw in 2010.” So far this cycle, no House Republican is retiring from politics.

Congressional Democrats don’t have much to brag about in the coming election. During Mrs. Pelosi’s four years as speaker, the national debt increased $5 trillion - a 61 percent jump. The Democratic Congress’ biggest legislative accomplishments - Obamacare and the stimulus bill - have been failures in practice and unpopular with the public.

A recent Kaiser poll shows that in just the past month, even Democratic support for Obamacare fell dramatically from 65 to 52 percent. Any mention of the president’s health care reform law has been removed from Mr. Obama’s teleprompter at public events. The self-congratulations are reserved for private fundraisers with his most liberal supporters.

While Republicans shouldn’t get overconfident, Mrs. Pelosi isn’t likely to return to her room with a view anytime soon.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide