There’s a new strain of Potomac Fever spreading through Washington. Democrats seem to be most susceptible to the disease. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) is the latest victim to succumb in a string of illnesses.
Potomac Fever is usually associated with the love of Washington; the love of power and politics. This new strain of the bug, however, has had quite the opposite effect. As Josh Kraushaar from Politico puts it, “even the politicians are sick of Washington.”
In his speech yesterday, Bayh said:
I love working for the people of Indiana, I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives, but I do not love Congress.”
Other retiring Democrats such as Sen. Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Rep. Bart Gordon (TN), Rep. Marion Berry (AR), and Rep. Dennis Moore (KA) have also complained about Washington partisanship in their retirement announcements.
Berry even blasted the President’s reaction to the possibility of a 1994 Republican revolution redux this fall. He told his local newspaper:
The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.’ We’re going to see how much difference that makes now.
Bayh is the fifth Democratic Senator to announce that he will not seek reelection this year. His retirement is sending the Democrats scrambling to look for a replacement. The filing deadline for the Indiana state Democrat primary election was today.
As time passes it looks increasingly possible for Republicans to gain majority status in both the House and the Senate this fall.
My biggest concern is: are they ready?
Republicans blew it before because they were more concerned about hanging onto their power than they were about governing as Republicans should. In other words, they got the other strain of Potomac Fever and began acting like Democrats — growing the federal government and spending money like drunken, well, congressmen.
Let’s hope the Republicans have learned from their mistakes, and work hard to replace those who have not.