Yes, I normally refer to this as ‘cutting and running,’ but Towns has been decent on free trade, net neutrality, and endorsed Giuliani for Mayor of NYC. Also, Al Sharpton hates him. That’s worth at least a little mercy.
Besides, the news that a sixteen term Congressman – and one of their heavy hitters, too; Towns was Oversight chair before the GOP took the House back in 2010 – isn’t running for office again should be sufficiently unnerving for the Democrats anyway. As the National Journal helpfully notes, this puts the score for retirements to 25: 15 Democratic, 10 Republican. And if you’re wondering why that number isn’t being widely mentioned, it’s probably because it’s not very helpful to the existing narrative that the Democrats have a hope of retaking the House this year.
But that’s more or less a distraction from the main point, which is: we have not yet seen the end of the Democratic reaction to their shellacking in 2010. In context, it’s pretty clear why Towns is retiring. He’s been in Congress long enough to remember the last time that the Democrats were in the minority, which means that he’s old enough to have experienced: the Old Regime; the psychic shock of losing in ’94, the twelve years of internal exile; the triumphant return to power in ’06… and the four years following, when Nancy Pelosi took what could have been the framework for another forty years of Democratic Congressional dominance and destroyed it in four. And the future is now looking considerably less fun.
In other words (and in my opinion): Towns is old, he is tired, and he does not need to go through another cycle of this. Especially if his best-case scenario is to have Nancy Pelosi come to power again, all the time not having learned a blessed thing…