A spate of retirements has made it much trickier for the GOP to bounce back from congressional losses in 2008, reports the Washington Post. Trent Lott's announcement yesterday means that 6 GOP senators and 17 House members are retiring, and many of their seats face serious Democratic challenges. The few retirements on the Democratic side are in non-competitive districts, the Post notes.
A common perception is that the rash of retirements is related to the GOP's new minority status, but Republican operatives insist it's just bad timing. "I don't hear a drumbeat that we're not effective and I don't like it here anymore," says a party leader. Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, says the retirements "have little meaning" and predicts the party can make substantial gains.