Obey's Retirement More Bad News for Dems

When the House Appropriations chief bails, it can't be good
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2010 5:10 PM CDT
Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., a leading liberal Democrat and chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announces he's retiring.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – The decision by powerful congressman David Obey to retire rather than seek re-election—the 71-year-old says he's "bone tired," reports AP—has pundits predicting more bad news for Democrats:

  • Ed Morrissey, Hot Air: This "may be the biggest sign of Democratic despair in this midterm cycle," he writes. "When committee chairs retire, it usually means they don’t expect to remain committee chairs for very much longer. When an Appropriations Committee chair retires—a position considered one of the pinnacles of Congressional power—then that goes double."

  • David Weigel, Right Now: To understand this, look to Obey's prospective opponent, Sean Duffy. He's an impressive, small-government conservative who "made an early bet against the stimulus." A while back, Weigel called this a "watershed" race for Republicans. For them, so far, so good.
  • Jonathan Karl, the Note: "You know it’s a bad, bad year for Democrats when David Obey decides not to run for re-election." He's had cakewalk races for decades.

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