Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was never known for holding his fire, and in a press conference announcing his retirement the liberal lawmaker saved some of his most memorable barbs for former House speaker and now presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
“I did not think I lived a good enough life to see Newt Gingrich as the Republican nominee,” the 30-year House veteran said. “He would be the best thing to happen to Democrats since Barry Goldwater ... It’s still unlikely, but I have hopes.”
House Democrats are starting to head for the exits, but it’s not quite panic time for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
In recent days, both Reps.
(D-Texas) have announced they won’tseek re-election in 2012. Their declarations bring the number of Democrats not seeking another term next year to 17, which has Republicans arguing that Democratic members don’t believe they can retake the House majority next year.
But eight of those 17 Democrats are actually seeking other office. In other words, only nine Democrats are calling it quits outright.
While that number is greater than the amount of Democrats who have typically announced their retirements at other points in past election cycles, it’s still far less than the exodus that generally occurs after a party loses House control. So when it comes to whether this is a big problem for Democrats recapturing the House majority in 2012, the jury is very much out.
Looking ahead, though, the number of Democratic retirements in the next couple months will be a key indicator of whether the rank-and-file truly believe the majority is attainable. As President Obama’s numbers continue to languish and the economy struggle, some may see the goal slipping away.
After 16 terms in office, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) plans to retire in 2012. Frank, 71, announced his retirement Monday at the Newton City Hall, citing the new congressional map as the reason.
A quick-witted liberal firebrand, Frank is known for his advocacy on gay rights and financial reform.
“I was planning to run again and then the congressional redistricting came,” Frank said on Monday. “I know my own capacity and energy levels and it would have been a mistake ... I could not have put the requisite effort in.”