Retirement: Glad To See Some Go

Among the many Members of the 113th Congress who’ve announced plans to retire this year, some will be sorely missed, like Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), chairman of the Armed Service Committee, a leading supporter of Israel and Jewish causes and one of the most respected members on either side of the aisle.  But some won’t be.  Two who top my list are Michele Bachmann (R-Wisconsin) and Jim Moran (D-Virginia).

Bachmann may have been one of the more colorful Members of the House but not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.  She made up facts as she went along, was usually befuddled and her knowledge of history would embarrass a third grader (American revolution began in New Hampshire, she confused movie star John Wayne with mass murderer John Wayne Gacy). She accused an aide to Hillary Clinton of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, said hurricanes and earthquakes were messages from God “to get the attention of the politicians,” questioned the loyalty of her Congressional colleagues, and declared eliminating the minimum wage would wipe out unemployment.

Moran also was willing to trample the facts, especially when we went off on one of his rants about Israel.  He has been a classic case of putting the mouth in gear and the brain in park. In my experience lobbying him I got the clear impression he was not only hostile toward Israel but never smart or interested enough to understand the issues no matter where he stood. He said there wouldn’t have been a war in Iraq “if it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community.” When someone suggested he sounded like an anti-Semite, he replied that wasn’t possible since his daughter was converting to marry a Jew and he approved.

Most of those retiring won’t be returning home.  They’ll just take their fat government pensions and drive down to K Street to sign up with one of the lobbying shops that will pay them big bucks to go back up the Hill to twist the arms of their former colleagues.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.