As Matt alluded to in yesterday’s post, Sen. Evan Bayh’s retirement may be emblematic of a greater “bi-partisan” disgust towards our politicians in Washington DC.
There is a pandemic going around Washington – it is called “IAMRETIRING.” House and Senate members on both sides of the aisle are catching it, announcing they will not be running for re-election this fall.
The reasons, both public and speculative, are varied. Some know, with voter’s general disillusionment towards Congress, they have a tough re-election ahead. Others are tired of the fight. Perhaps it is not just the voters who are tired of Congress’ partisan bickering and inability to get things done, but members themselves are worn out and throwing in the towel.
No one can be certain whether these retirements will result in a political shift to the right or left. Both Democrats and Republicans share responsibility for the recession, astronomical deficit, job loss and simple inability to make progress on any issue. An effort to deny such responsibility only fuels the fire of voter anger and turns them away. What is certain is all these retirements present an opportunity for both voters and candidates alike.
This fall voters have an opportunity to send new blood and energy to Washington. They are tired of the usual messages of hope and change and will be looking for candidates who can deliver results. Voters across this country are hurting and will take a closer look at their choices than ever before. Tragically, if unmotivated by those choices, they may choose to stay home.
Candidates should take note as well. Do not count on party line votes. This election will be less about rigid ideology and more about candidates who can speak plainly to the voters about issues that are relevant. They must show a record of leadership in business or elected office and demonstrate the ability to work in a bi-partisan way. Candidates must get rid of the rhetoric and talk about practical solutions.
As demonstrated in the Massachusetts US Senate race, conventional wisdom should be thrown out the window in 2010. Historical analysis and the media told us all that was Kennedy’s seat, the Democrats seat. Voters there took control and made it clear it was their seat, the People’s seat.
In this day of healthcare reform, education reform, economic reform and so on – perhaps Congress needs some reform of its own. It may come in the 2011 class of new independent minded Representatives and Senators. It is the People’s Congress and they are taking back control.