January 6th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Why so many Democrats headed for the exits?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Not a good sign for the Democrats when a growing list of lawmakers - including veteran Senators Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan - are choosing not to run for re-election this Fall.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/06/dodd.dorgan.jpg caption=" (L to R) Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CT and Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND"]
Dorgan of North Dakota says he wants out of politics in order to do other things. Connecticut's Chris Dodd acknowledges his difficult political situation, along with personal reasons, in not running for a sixth term. Dodd has been under fire for his ties to the financial industry and his dealings with a VIP mortgage loan program.

Things are looking pretty rough for the Democrats come November. When you consider the sagging poll numbers of President Obama and the Democratic Party, some suggest the Republicans could have their best chance in years of making big gains.

In the senate, the Democrats stand to lose their filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes. And it's estimated they could lose 20 to 30 seats in the House. If those things happen, President Obama could be rendered almost powerless when it comes to getting his legislation passed.

These retirements come at a time when Democratic incumbents - including big names like Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Arlen Specter - are facing tough re-election fights of their own.

To be fair - it's not just Democrats who are leaving town. In the Senate, there are five Democrats and six Republicans not running for re-election. In the House, there are five Democrats retiring and six running for other offices... while there are two Republicans retiring and 12 running for other offices.

Here’s my question to you: Why are so many Democrats heading for the exits?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jamie writes:
Because they know they don't have a snowball’s chance to get re-elected. They were put in the position of being irrelevant within their party or supporting unpopular policies set forth by Pelosi, Reid, and Obama. It's more profitable to remain loyal to the party.

Marie from Portland, Oregon writes:
Jack, Do the math. There are more Republicans not running for re-election in the Senate than there are Democrats. The same goes for the House. So why aren't you asking: "Why are so many Republicans heading for the exits?"

Monroe from Connecticut writes:
Even the Democrats are starting to see the folly of the Obama administration - talk about a sinking ship. Chris Dodd has been a disgrace, as was his father before him in Connecticut. They are all just worthless thieves who are in it to line their pockets. He just jumped off the ship before the people turned him out. He is worthless.

William from New Jersey writes:
It's time all the hacks get out regardless of political party. Let's get some fresh non-partisan blood in there.

Rich writes:
I would first ask the question "Is this normal for any off-election year?" Also, aren't there as many or more Republicans who have chosen not to run in the fall? Your question seems to be exaggerating the situation.

Ron from Copenhagen writes:
As much as I hate to say it (because I am VERY pro-Obama) I think these guys are abandoning what they see as a sinking ship. It’s too bad, really, as this administration has been the first glimmer of hope the U.S. has seen in many, many years.

Jeremy from Albuquerque, New Mexico writes:
Jack, Your article answers your question; all these politicians are either retiring or moving ahead with their careers. Go home and get some sleep. You sound like a complete idiot today.

Filed under: Democrats
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Sue

    After you total the company car, it is better to quit than to be fired.

    January 6, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  2. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    Perhaps with the well-funded circus that we call a govenment and serious political discourse, they have simply given up.

    January 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  3. Greg in Cabot, AR

    I don't blame those Democrats a bit.

    This Congress has been like two horses hitched to a plow, one is doing all the pulling while the other one does nothing but nag, drag its feet and complain that the field is not getting plowed fast enough or the rows are crooked.

    With all the nastyness that has been dished out by Republicans since the last election, who could blame any Democrat if they want to head out to pasture?

    January 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  4. Bill

    I think Progressives are disenchanted with the on going pandering for the Banksters and wealthy interests on Wall Street while the deindustrialization of America continues. The result for the poor and unskilled workers in inner cities is unemployment. If the democrats were solely responsible for the election of this president he would not be there today. Progressives and Independents and a lot of people that don't even know what they are politically decided the election. I think the real democrats are staying put.

    January 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  5. Carol in Athens Ga.

    They are probably as disgusted with national politics as the rest of us. Doesn't the Congress realize that major reform must be undertaken asap to stop the special interests from grinding our government to a halt at every turn? Oh,wait :some of them are the bribees.Talk about your Catch-22.

    January 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  6. Matt

    Because maybe they see the handwriting on the wall? Or because they can tap into their unspent campaign funds? Or because they are already set for life with a great pension and health care while the rest of us saps have to work to survive?

    Rockford, IL

    January 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  7. Peg from NY

    I have NO idea but it is odd, to say the least.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  8. Tom, Bradenton, FL

    Jack, these incompetent thieves realize there is no way to get re elected. America is finally waking up about these frauds.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  9. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, I think there are many doors that you can go through to join the democratic party. That leaves many doors and reasons to leave the democratic party when things are not quite the way you pictured them. The republican party on the other hand, there is only one door to go through and one reason to leave. You have to be a Rush Limbaugh type republican or you will not even be welcome into the party. Everyone knows in order to be a republican in good standing with the party you have to be to the extreme right with your support and beliefs.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  10. Melissa

    Have you happened to notice that all the retirees are old?

    January 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  11. Ed

    They realize the U. S. is no longer governable for multiple reasons: Special interest money and redistricting corrupts the system while the Senate filibuster combined with overriding party loyalty gives the party out of power incentive to obstruct the party in power to make them look ineffective.


    January 6, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  12. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    because it's looking like a re-run of 1994, Jack, and it's the Democrates own fault.

    they look like a bunch of wimps or, even worse, corporate lackeys, in the way they have handled healthcare and the economy. what use have been the House and Senate majorities? they have been renderd USELESS by infighting within their own "political party" and "RepubliCAN'T" stall tactics.

    when George W Bush and the Repubicans had their "super majorities", they just ran the Democrates over when they wanted to pass something. people voted for Obama and the Democrates in 2008 because they thought they would get things done. instead they got the biggest bunch of scared of their own shadow COWARDS to ever hit Washington DC.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  13. Bud Rupert, Reston, VA

    My take is that they have had enough of the amature and childish behavoir that has becaome the Congress. It's pathetic and embarrassing to watch.

    Both Dodd and Dorgan are pros. Who wants to go to work everyday and get beat up and abused by people that can't hold their brief cases.? For what – 174K a year? Please! I don't think either needs the money anyway. And if they do can you imagine what they can make in the private sector.

    Also Jack. I think when Sen. Kennedy died that took a lot out of Senator Dodd.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm |

    Too hard to govern when one is expected to (1) be honest and (2
    to keep your promises. Democrats are notorious for their getting elected and then failing to govern. The GOP (Greedy Old Party) has demonstrated a total absence of ethics but a willingness to forge ahead with their own agenda in spite of the consequences to the government
    or the people.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  15. john in michigan

    The writing's on the wall. This administration and Congress are complete failures. I knew that with Democrats in charge the nation would be headed in the wrong direction, as it has for most of the past 20 years, but at least we would be going somewhere. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would witness the destruction that these people are hell-bent on wreaking on the entire nation. If one of them were on fire I wouldn't let my dog lift his leg to give them some relief.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  16. JENNA

    Why are so many Democrats heading for the exits?

    Wow, sooooo many.... TWO....

    How many are not returning on the GOP side?? More than two...

    Come on Jack!

    There are already TWO really good Democratic candidates on the horizon in CT and I am sure that ND will elect another stellar Democrat.

    I have no concerns.

    Hey Jack, what does it say with all the GOP'ers leaving office and RNC Chairman Michael Steele saying that the GOP won't gain the seats??

    Roseville CA

    January 6, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  17. chaney, La.

    Some of the Dems are leaving because they are going to get beaten in the next election. now if we could get some of the REpubs to do the same we might be in business.....I am hoping the American voter regardless of party is getting tired of encumbants. Do you think.?

    January 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  18. Emden (Deep in the Heart of Hurst Texas)


    Because they realize that the current administration is not living up to the expectations established during the campaign.

    The ship is sinking!!

    January 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  19. Loren, Chicago

    It's called take the money and run. They can take their campaign cash and use it personally, so why waste it on a reelection campaign that they very well might lose because the Democrats are positioning themselves as the spend wildly party? In any event, we're better off with them getting out now while the getting's good, maybe that will leave an opening for people who actually might serve the American people rather than their own reelection interests.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  20. Jeremiah

    Many are leaving because the 2010 election will be tough. Some because they are in a tough position because of it, and leaving their post is better for the country and better for the Democrats then staying and fighting the Republicans. There will be the people who claim it is because of "failed" policy from the Democratic agenda, but the simple fact is many are simply past their prime and know it. Regardless of who enters the vacant seats we need leaders that stop thinking politically and do what is best for the country instead of clinging to party lines, because that is what makes our system work best.

    Denver, CO

    January 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  21. Lisa in CA

    Quite possibly because they have failed to listen to the American Public and know they will lose their seats anyway? Also, rather than being kicked out, they can retire without facing the consequences of their failed decisions and actions?

    Lisa, Elk Grove, CA

    January 6, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  22. The Broker.

    "Could it be the pressure? Who was and who wasn't vetted enough? Is going to be you're undoing..."

    January 6, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  23. Brian Delray Beach, FL

    Exclusive of those one step ahead of an ethics investigation Democrats leaving office may just be fed up with the Republican opposition to everything. It has to be very discouraging to try to improve the lives of our citizens only to have some partisan obtructionist block your every move with parliamentary delaying tactics. While most of those currently serving should be forcibly removed, tarred, feathered, and riden out on a rail, there are a few that really want to represent the American people's best interests and are not full time lobbyists for corporations. Solution: Term limitations. Two for Senators, Three for the House. Public financing only and no lobbyists within a 100 miles of the capital.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  24. Tony from Southport

    Look at what Frank Pantangelo did after Michael Corleone brought his brother in from Italy while Pantangelo was testifying before the Grand Jury. He smoked a good cigar, got into a tub of warm water and slit his wrists. The Democrats are in the tub of very warm water.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  25. george

    Maybe it's because they have seen the PRESIDENT :"UNDERPERFORMING"..and Breaking Election Promises "right and left".....and "underdeciding" on most critical decisions that need to be made....and maybe, just maybe they think he is a "ONE TERMER" and it's all over come midterms and the next Presidential election????!!!!!???? " The Party's Over Now!"

    January 6, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  26. John in Santa Barbara

    they are headed for the exits because they are old, and have to go pee.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  27. Jane (Minnesota)

    I think it's either they are actually taking a good hard look at just how unhappy the voters are with the Beltway politics or they want to hop over to the other side of the Beltway gravy train by becoming Lobbyists (more likely the answer). I hope they get enough backbone together to push through some meaningful campaign and lobbying reforms before they pick up all their toys and leave the toystore. They don't want to leave a loser – it doesn't look good to the Lobbying firms, I'm sure.

    One can always dream......................

    January 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  28. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    Jack, your article answers your question; all these politicians are either retiring or moving ahead with their careers. Go home and get some sleep. You sound like a complete idiot today

    January 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  29. mike---elmira, ny

    i honestly think it is the republicans that are in trouble-they have done nothing but hold up this health bill since clinton was in office-if the black vote turns out in force again, which i believe they will and should, the gop could get clobbered. until the gop seperates itself from the ultra-conservatives, they will continue to be a divided party. the 23rd congressional district in upstate ny should have taught them something, but some people like to learn the hard way

    January 6, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  30. John from Dallas

    Rats from a sinking ship.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  31. BigD GottaGoTell It, Minnesota

    The Democrats are Cleaning House for the Same Reasons You Give Jack. We Still Have a Year to Accomplish Some "FOR the PEOPLE LEGISLATION" + Do it Without Funding Abortion, Same Sex Unions as Such. Implementing Health Care, Military + Civilian Drafts are Paramount!

    The Dangerous Fallacy; "Republicanism Means Prosperity + Godliness" is Neo-Con Propaganda + LIES!

    January 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  32. Jerry

    Jack, to start out with, Chris Dodd will be missed....By a lot of BANKERS, INSURANCE GIANTS, and CREDIT CARD COMPANIES.They are leaving before they get caught with the sweet deals they are getting, in the health care legislation.Remember it was supposed to insure everybody at lower premiums, then after a lot of behind the scene dealings it turn to affordable, which how much is affordable. The whole thing on health care is a scam to get money for the government and themselves, at their constituents exspense. This is so they can keep up with there out of the box spending.There is no health care crisis,And this was never a priority for America at this time. And I wonder what Obama pocketed from PHARMA. It is the best and quickest way for some one to turn into a millionaire or Billionaire working in the Senate and House.Is Charlie Rangel staying? Jerry/ Iowa

    January 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  33. Ms. Wonderful

    It's called jumping ship rather then going down with the ship.

    Ms. Wonderful in sunny, warm Phoenix, Arizona

    January 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  34. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    The wise thing to do is to walk way from this mess. I cannot understand why anyone would want to stay in Washington and serve. Look at all of the bickering, in fighting, out fighting, crazy media coverage from both sides not reporting news but putting their own spin on events for ratings, so who in their right mind would want to put up with this? Our country has many strong, intelligent and experienced leaders but 99.9% are too wise to enter the chaos that exists in Washington.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  35. Rob in NC

    Since most don't have a conscience, I can only assume they have a job lined up in which they make more money doing less work – but I don't know how that could be possible!! Rob in NC

    January 6, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  36. Ed from California

    I don't have to tell you that Wash D.C. is dysfunctional beyond belief. The Democrats have to take control and lead with an iron fist, just like the Republicans did and is doing right now.
    Chris Dodd is 65 and wants out, and I don't blame him. Why put up with all the dysfunction. It's not worth the headache if you get no cooperation. Why beat your head against the wall.

    America, you have to take the time and call or write to your represenatives in D.C and let them know your views on the issues. What is going on is all of our faults. We have to get involved.

    Chris and Byron, come on in. The retirement water is fine!

    January 6, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  37. BILL

    Jack I think that there should be an election every six months untill we get some decent people in there. That goes from the president to the floor sweeper.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  38. Marc, Toronto

    Maybe Jack, just maybe they realize it's the right time to retire or perhaps they just can't fathom staying in Politics where 15% of the voting public and 5 million book purchasers believe Sarah Palin is a legit Political figure.

    Two aging Senators out of sixty isn't exactly a mass exodus Jack.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  39. Mr. D

    Apparently the heat is on in Washington. Good-it's long over due. In the Democrats situation it's guilt by association. They must feel the "angry mobs in the street" becoming more restive. The Republicans are in a "let's make this up as we go along" mode. Don't you just love politics?

    January 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  40. Russ in PA

    Because they're done ripping off the American public? Time to let other predators take over?

    January 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  41. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    ooh! ooh! I know! Pick me!!
    After more than 35 years trying to stamp out ignorance I awoke to the fact that I had merely been tap dancing around on top of it. That's when I hung up my teaching career. I think Chris Dodd, Dorgan and the rest feel pretty much the same. Time to let the younger Turks take a crack at it.
    Arlingtion Texas

    January 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  42. Francis

    Jack, These are the smart ones. The atmosphere in Washington is getting overheated. They are getting out before the pitch forks next year.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  43. Eric Platt

    Come on Jack, this one is too easy.

    Rats are always the first to abandon a sinking ship.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  44. Grant from Idaho

    Jack: If I was in Congress, the rancor between the parties would cause me to look for another line of work that does not incude name calling and lies about my work. It seems to me to be a hostile work environment.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  45. Rick McDaniel

    It isn't that many. It is just that any departures put there majority at risk, and frankly, without that, they can't pass anything.

    Come to think of it,. they haven't passed anything important with that majority.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  46. Mari Fernandez, Utah

    Some Democrats know that they are in trouble. Others perhaps have their sights on higher office, like Gov. Ritter of Colorado, he may very well run for the Senate.

    I caution the GOP from concluding that the Democrats are "scared" we are not. The weak must go, allowing strong candidates to succeed.

    America has not forgotten the Great Recession of 2007-2009, and counting. We know who was in charge then.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  47. A. Smith, Oregon

    It is has been a long time since the House, Senate and White House has a majority of Democratic lawmakers in office. And the Republican party of NO way, no how and no ideas are fighting against all Democratic attempts to turn America around from the abyss which the Republican party has plunged America into.

    Its refreshing to see the Democratic lawmakers roll up their sleeves and work long hours on behalf of the American people. No doubt, those Democrats that are leaving public service in the House and Senate are not used to putting in the effort which many blue collar workers routinely put into their 40 – 60 hour work week.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  48. Greg

    It's the fact that the DC swamp has been poisoned even more with the current state of politics. Who would want to stick around and swim in the mess?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  49. Joe M


    They are trying to distance themselves from the left wing nut jobs that have found their way into our political system.

    Independent Joe

    January 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  50. joe m

    there is an old saying, quit while you're ahead. maube these guys figure that if they leave now they can still claim that they left on their own terms rather than being kicked to the curb by angry constituents. or maybe they just don't want to be around when the you know what hits the fan.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  51. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    There running from Obama woildnt you.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  52. James

    Jack, because a few of them have the good sense to realize they have over stayed their welcome! I'm a Dem..

    January 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  53. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Like rats on a sinking ship. It's good for America to have new voices on the Hill. Hopefully they won't be bought and paid for like most of these guys.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  54. steve - Iowa

    Great! I think it should be tough for any incumbent to retain their seat. The last 9 years have been a major disaster and any incumbent should resign, or hopefully voted out.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  55. dan

    The liberals are exiting stage left because they know the bell will toll in 2 years due to the huge deficits they have run up in a very short time.

    They don't want to have an answer for their actions.

    in other words. They are cowards.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  56. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    Good question. Maybe it's because the young people who voted for change are disillusioned and disappointed and probably will not vote for some time to come. As for Pres. Obama, he's just as much Republican as he is Democratic so it won't make any difference to him. If they could pass lobbyist and campaign funds reform or pass anything else for that matter, things might turn around.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  57. Percy

    They are exiting congress and will soon enter the corporate world of health insurers. With the money these democratic congress members will make from the health industry, they will no longer need sweetheart deals from home mortgage companies/

    January 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  58. frankie

    Maybe they decided that giving every single American decent health care, is vastly more important than whether they personally are able to look good for future elections.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  59. Zach - DC

    Who cares? I just hope that it is a 50/50 split come November and both Republicans and Democrats will be forced to work across the isle with one another. More, moderate legislation would end up getting passed. Not only that, but this type of bi-partisan, moderate legislation would be in the best intrest of America. *sigh* A man can dream.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  60. Scott Stodden

    Because they don't want there names tarnished anymore than they already are dealing with a inexperienced President and an inexperienced administration. I mean Jack really, I never voted for Obama until the general election, I was a Hillary supporter all the way and now with this plane scare in Detroit and Homeland Security lacking on its job, people getting into the White House, and now secret negotiations in the White House to get Health Care passed its unimaginable. Iam one Democrat and very liberal at that who will be voting for Mitt Romney come 2012 because Obama has to go along with the others who are leaving Washington!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    January 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  61. Doug - Dallas, TX

    I'm sure the reasons are as varied as you want to make them but you left one out. Maybe they're tired of the Washington BS. If the voters put the Republicans back in charge after what they did during the Bush debacle, they will get what they deserve. Bottom line is no one in this country is willing to accept the sacrifices that are necessary to restore our government to "government by the people" instead of government by the special interests. At this point, it doesn't matter who controls Congress, nothing meaningful will get done. You only have to look at the health care fiasco and the billions given to the banking industry to realize we have lost control of our country!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  62. Dave in Albuquerque

    The question should be "Why is there such partisanship in politics and why can't these elected representatives work together to put the many important issues facing the country ahead of their petty, pious differences?"

    January 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  63. Eileen (Peabody)


    I'm not sure I can answer your question as to why they are dropping like flies, but let me give you an optimistic possibility.

    Perhaps some of the candidates who choose to run for these vacant seats will be the Representatives this nation needs.....MODERATE, SENSIBLE, THINKERS.

    We deserve much better from our leaders than what we have. I would prefer Representatives who think about the reasoning behind their vote, work with all factions to reach consensus, and does not like the idea of being elected to office only to follow directions. (ie....just vote NO regardless of what you think, or what your constituents need.)


    January 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  64. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Well they are the same as many Republicans they far too old to be in those positions, and just like the Republicans they have no new ideas, I think there should be an age limit for Congress after 65 they should resign!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  65. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, how about because they can see the writting on the wall. 4 years of Democratic tax and spend, $2T+ in deficit spending this year that accomplished nothing, a very unpopular health care bill with $2.5T more deficit spending, broken promises by the dozens, a war that noone wants or believes will succeed, blatant corruption & bribery in the Senate/house. Need more reasons?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  66. Dennis North Carolina

    they have served enough,

    January 6, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  67. Kari

    This is the equivalent of Military Generals "Falling on their Swords" rather than be captured by the enemy. This final sacrifice allows them to "Martyr" themselves for the unpopular causes that Obama hopes to pass and not have to face the obvious embarrassment of defeat that support for the extreme left agenda insures for their future. It's a shame because some of these politicians are ending long years of service in disgrace.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  68. Denis Duffy

    Why lose money on a lost cause. They will take their money and run to a more lucrative job. They should be jailed for what they have done and are doing to America.

    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  69. Carl D.

    They are all like Rats on a sinking ship, just like Janet N. all totally worthless.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  70. A.P. from Fremont, Ca.

    People are assuming Dems will lose seats because they're still grieving from Repubican losses in 2008. They believe Dem retirements before the elections are some ominous sign. Thty're hopes will be dashed. In reality, the trend to vote against Republican has not changed and won't for quite some time. This is really the wise decision election stratey of Dems to change the election "equation" of not having incumbent Dems running in 2010. If there's non-incumbent Dems running against non-incumbent Republicans, Democrats will win more seats in 2010.....

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  71. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Jack, they realize that instead of hitching their horses to 'hope and change' they've signed up with 'sorry, my bad'.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  72. Jeff In Minnesota

    The smart ones know they are on the Titanic with Pelosi and Reid at the helm and they do not want to go down with the ship.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  73. A.P. from Fremont, Ca.

    People are assuming Dems will lose seats because they're still grieving from Repubican losses in 2008. They believe Dem retirements before the elections are some ominous sign. They're hopes will be dashed. In reality, the trend to vote against Republican has not changed and won't for quite some time. This is really the wise decision election stratey of Dems to change the election "equation" of not having incumbent Dems running in 2010. If there's non-incumbent Dems running against non-incumbent Republicans, Democrats will win more seats in 2010.....

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  74. Anthony from NJ

    Jack, some are leaving to give their party a better chance and some are salivating to retire because they know they won't live forever unlike you. It's not a conspiracy only attrition. Wake up and smell the coffee!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  75. Terry in Hanover County

    They can read the handwriting on the walls. In less than one year, President Obama has done what it took many in the GOP to do in about 15 years - destroy his own party. There are too many self-serving, self-important bloviators on Capitol Hill and in the White House. They really don't give a damn about much outside their own pocketbooks and benefactors. It's time to send them all packing. Let's vote out all incumbents until these idiots in D.C. realize for whom they really work - all Americans, not just the elite 1%.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  76. Terry, Chandler AZ

    My guess is that they are being pressured by fellow Democrats in powerful positions to not seek re-election. And if Rahm Emanuel makes a 'suggestion' , it is best that the suggestion is followed.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  77. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    Because the democrats have moved so far towards Marxism it's embarrassing, and will destroy the party!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  78. Tina Tx

    Rats always jump ship when the going gets tough and this is what they are doing cause they know they probably will not get re-elected.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  79. Pat

    They do not like the heat, so they are getting out of the kitchen.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  80. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    Because there is much more money to be made as a lobbyist, which they all will end up being as soon as possible.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  81. Jim from Chicago

    There are actually more Republicans who are not running for re-election than there are Democrats. No dobut both parties have tired of the hyper-partisan sniping and lack of co-operation and country-first thinking.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  82. Dave , Munhall , Pa.

    Same reason as everyone else.........the greenbacks are geener on the lobbyist side of the fence ! ! !

    January 6, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  83. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Texas

    Jack, I'd say that either they're corrupt or they don't want to have to explain the selling of America to their neighbors back home. If a leader can't lead, you sure can't follow. I'd say it's a Democrat cut and run. I know I won't waste my vote on Obama again. As far as I'm concerned all he's done is sell us out and we're supposed to pay the tab. Jack, how many Zero's in trillion? I don't think my checks have enough space to write all of them out.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  84. brett mullins Phoenix,Az

    They can feel they are in trouble. All of incumbents could be in trouble. McCain may lose in Arizona. The media is all over this in Arizona.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  85. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    The whole pack of them contributed to the US's current situation and want to get out while their behinds are still going to get good retirement packages(while there is anything left) and hopefully escape indictment on any charges.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  86. paul

    They have made enough money and now you and I will pay for their health insurance and their retirement since they do not get social security.Is it cheaper to vote them out or keep them?

    January 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  87. Chris

    I think the Dems are finding out that they're going to be found out – that in fact that they are just as engrossed in the politics of the Beltway as the Republicans as just as criminal.

    Benson, AZ

    January 6, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  88. Gail, Plano,Texas

    Will someone please pinch me because I must be having a nightmare! Anyone who votes Republican after living through 2, I repeat 2 Bush administration's is a certifiable lunatic. I cannot absorb the knowledge that I am faced with every day that those who are GOP are really nasty and crazy. My God, Jack, we tortured people! And now we had a chance to improve, but the ignorance of the majority of the American people prevails!

    January 6, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  89. Bob in Fla

    Perhaps many feel they have accomplished a great deal. They are about to pass the most significant legislation in decades. The Health Care bill will be the first bill ever passed to address the problem. You will notice I said address, I didn't say solve. Yes it needs refining, yes it needs improving, yes it needs evolving. I am sure the evolution this bill goes thru in the coming years, will be contentious and argumentative, but it will evolve. Our current and future Representatives will engage in that process, Hopefully ALL of them. I feel we have a lot to look forward to.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  90. Ed North Carolina

    If the implication for either the Democrats or the Republicans who are not running for re-election is their fear fo defeat, then we don't need any of them in office in the first place. They have all forgotten that it is not about them, but about us.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  91. steve touma

    Simple, they see the poll numbers of Obama going south, and they see the American people are saying the thrill is gone,the democrats did nothing but spend,spend and spend with no results, they see the healthcare deal is nothing ;

    Look at the poll numbers of Pelosi and Reid they are sad, the democrats are jumping of the boat fast they see that it looks bleak for them an they see the american public is fed up with the spending and no results..

    January 6, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  92. Lori - PA


    Maybe they were facing tough questions if they got re-elected. Some elected officals, in my opinion, need to be questioned about the "deals" they received in exchange for their "yea" vote on the healthcare reform measure.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  93. Donald in CA

    I think a lot of politicians will be leaving because politics in Washington have become such mess. The GOP is so mean spirited that they will not vote for policies that would benefit the American people. I would leave Washington and get a job as a lobbyist for the health care industry.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  94. Jim

    They may be crooks and liars but they are not stupid. Most voters listened to the anti-Bush rhetoric in the last election and they forgot the democrats ran both houses of congress for the previous two years which lead to the ballooning deficit, we accepted it was Bush. However, this time around, people will know the democrats have run congress for the past four years and we are even deeper in debt. This congress and this President will bring this country closer to destruction and civil war than any president since Lincoln.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  95. Michael Indiana

    Wouldnt it be nice to hear the democrats address the republican concerns rather than just keep saying that they are right (same for republicans). I wish I could sit down with any of the top officials and have a nice debate, let them explain their thought processes and then try to teach them the difference between a persons desire and the governments ability to force their beliefs on the entire country.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  96. Layne Alleman

    Jack, More than likely, they probably have private sector jobs waiting at obscene salaries, will become lobbyists, or make huge fees on the "Speaking and Advising" tours. Whatever the do, they won't be far from their former "roomies", after all, that's where the money is. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  97. AJ in Austin TX

    The democrats are running scared, Jack and they know they will lose seats come this November. They've been in power for three years now and they promised us more transparency and higher ethics. They haven't delivered. They're spending us into a hole from which we will never see daylight and WE the American people are keeping tabs. Transparency? They aren't brave enough to broadcast the Health Care consolidation on C-Span because the American people will see who they really are: Thieves.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  98. Kathleen Bills


    Could this departure situation be indirectly related to the "behind closed doors" discussions by the Democrats on the Health Bill. Which, by the way, has made many legal citizens sick.

    Thank you.

    Kathleen Bills
    McCook, NE

    January 6, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  99. Jenny-Kansas City, MO

    They have no intention of listening to those they represent and plan to get health care's crushing debt proposal upon us no matter what their future entails. At any cost, indeed!I I couldn't be happier to see them go and NOW! They have been at the party for too long and they are all too arrogant and corrupt especially Dodd. That thought can be applied to the Republicans during the last administration too. Calling them pond scum is an insult to pond scum.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  100. Missy M

    It's called jumping ship rather then going down with the ship.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  101. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Maybe your question ought to be why democrats and republicans are heading for the exits! New blood never hurts!

    January 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  102. Kenneth Kohlmann

    They see the hand writing on the wall. Voting against their constituents does a lot to end a career. Guess they didn't understand that.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  103. David from UT

    Everybody, including you, seem to think the president and the democrats have not done a good job in the past year. The popular belief(and hope) seems to be that Obama is a one-term president and that the Democrats will lose heavily in the mid-term. Let's just say, therefore, that some prefer to leave on their own than to be voted out and humiliated by the media.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  104. JohnnyO

    Lets face it,we need all new faces in this corrupt POS government,as they are all nothing but crooks.When are you Americans going to stand up and fight the government!!!

    January 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  105. Monroe, Connecticut

    Even the Democrats are starting to see the folly of the Obama administration - talk about a sinking ship. Chris Dodd has been a disgrace, as was his father before him in Connecticut. They are all just worthless theives who are in it to line their pockets. He just jumped off the ship efore the people turned him out. He is worthless.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  106. steve- virginia beach

    They know what they've done and like many bad employees are quitting in order to avoid being fired.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  107. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    Take the money and run.any schoolchild knows hot air rises to the top and defeat is one thing disgrace is another.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  108. southerncousin

    They may degrade and demean the TEA party and how mad the American people are like so many liberals do, but the are realists and they know the reality is that the taxpaying Americans are angry and are going to toss them out, so they want to go out as heroes for their egos while collecting al of that taxpayer financed pension.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  109. Will from San Jose, CA

    The President and many in Congress ran on a platform of universal health care. The public responded in November by giving Democrats strong majorities in the House, the Senate, and the White House.

    But what good is a super-majority when instead of getting those campaign promises fulfilled, we have a healthcare plan written to satisfy the desires of Senators Snowe and Liebermann. Who put them in charge?

    January 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  110. Barry Campbell - Austin, Texas

    Because they know they did wrong.
    There is a defenceless "kickback" somewhere.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  111. Sheena1a

    The whole damn works should retire or get kicked out or impeached, before they do any more harm to this country. God Help us with them in there

    January 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  112. laura

    Because they are 'old school' and they have never seen anything like what is going on today and they probably want no part of it.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  113. Chuck

    Given their rotten performance as the majority party as it has been so
    far, who cares why they are leaving. I just say good riddance as I will to
    this president in 3 more years.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  114. Jamie

    Because they know they don't have a snowballs chance to get re-elected. They were put in the position of being irrelevant within their party or supporting unpopular policies set forth by Pelosi, Reid, and Obama. It's more proffitable to remain loyal to the party.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  115. Charles -NJ

    With Reid and Pelosi as their leaders, wouldn't you run also?

    January 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  116. WILLIAM

    The Democrats can smell the coffee. This President has doomed us and his flattery is no longer a hit with the American people. He promised so many things and have yet to deliver the goods. He was elected at a time when the people needed hope. He used that to get into office only to take this country way down and way backwards. I was one of those who did vote for him but now I am very discouraged and concern for all of us. This is no longer a right verses left, we are basically in this thing as one and what happens to one will eventually happen to all. History repeats itself every so many years and we are heaed toward some very dark, dismal, and bleak times. No one man or woman can or will get us out of this mess. We fought each other for so long that the enemy of our nation slipped right under our noses.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  117. Marie Noguerole (Portland,Oregon)

    Jack...do the math. There are more Republicans not running for re-election in the Senate than there are Democrats. The same goes for the House. So why aren't you asking "Why are so many Republicans heading for the exits?"

    But then you know what they say. Repeat something long enough and people will come to believe its true.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  118. B

    Democrats or Republicans, it doesn't matter..We need to get rid of them all..They are all crooks in my book..Start over with new people that have new ideas and hopefully old-fashioned ethics..

    January 6, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  119. Richard

    Members of Congress make $174,000 a year. Heads of trade associations make upward of $741,000 and don't have to return to home districts on weekends. Most of these leaving politicians face an uphill battle getting reelected if they ran. Most polls show them behind or even with republicans.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  120. Barb - Arizona

    Short and Sweet. Getting caught with both their hands in the cookie jars.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  121. Jay

    It's so sad that people forget so quickly. With Democrats "heading for the exits" it would seem people want the Republicans back in control. Haven't people learned anything from the 6 years of Congress and 8 years of Bush?

    January 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  122. Michael

    Some are leaving, because they are not doing well in pre-election polls. I am guessing that Dodd is leaving for this reason and not because he actually wishes to retire, but I do not know because we are not the same person. This has happened on both sides of the aisle and it will continue to happen for the forseeable future, retiring from congress due to bad poll numbers.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  123. Jeff in Houston, Texas

    Because, in the wake of the Republican temper-tantrum, there is no limit to what will be said and done to destroy the character of anyone not a member of their Reich. Yes, Dodd is weak; he is nto without sin, as the Christians say. But I would take Dodd over any thought-controlled Republican any day. Goodbye Senator Dodd, you will be missed. Thank you for your service.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  124. Maria

    They are old, white and out-of-fashion. They see the writing on the wall and are getting out before they have to face public defeat. Good riddance!



    January 6, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  125. charley of NY

    And the rats are starting to abandon the ship. What is the matter are they afraid the won't be reelected given the trend to vote all the incumbents out of office and start the new government with a clean sheet. This brings us to the next change needing to be made, put term limits’ on the time they can be in congress and also put it on the judicial arm of the government.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  126. leroy

    like the old song goes, you dont need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows....

    January 6, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  127. gerry

    For the same reason there's so many Republicans not running for office. They already madetheir loot, now is the time to retire and enjoy it.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  128. james s roberts

    Congress has only one interest; to ensure its members from two party system are relected.

    Americans need to reject both parties; either vote for third party candidate (and it doesn't matter who or what candidate's affiliation) or don't vote at all.

    Either action sends a clear message; the current system, government body, congressional representatives are corrupt and change is warranted.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  129. Dan from New City, NY

    Who cares why these particular members are heading for the exit. I think the majority of voters as agree and align with Democrats and Democratic principles now, and still will in 2010. I see most of these seats up for grabs staying Democratic, even in a non-incumbent race.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  130. Jamal St. Petersburg, FL

    Well, I think they are satisfied with all the special interest "gifts" or bribes they received, and now they can retire.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  131. Sue From Idaho

    A mass exodus is in order Jack, if you don't think you will be re-elected,take a powder. Spend the campaign bucks on your long suffering spouse.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  132. Pete

    Most likely because they can't face the fact of not being re-elected, NOT GOING TO BE RE-ELECTED.
    Here's an idea take LIBERMAN with you...
    Maybe because they have run out things to screw-up.
    Run/exit before they get indicted.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  133. Matt B

    I think that the left has finally realized that everything the new administration is doing is not what the American people voted for. Could it be that these democrats actually have a heart? Or maybe they visited Whoville over the Christmas break and their heart actually grew 10 times? Something must have happened that nobody knows about that will surface once they leave office. Animals at a watering hole don't run for no reason.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  134. david

    Departure is eminent because the American public will slowly come to realize that the Health Care Bill should have been the exact the same one most Federal Employees have–no need to reinvent the wheel. But doing it this way not only creates the needed drama, satisfies the lobbyists, fattens the wallets of the plethora of other affiliated 'advisors' and it just makes me sick-hey, maybe I'll have some conglomeration of a health plan to fall back on –then again, THEY ALREADY HAVE ONE IN PLACE! WHY ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NOT GETTING THE SAME PLAN PELOSI OR BARNEY FRANKS HAS????

    January 6, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  135. Don From Belleville, Ontario

    Although almost nothing nauseates politicians (except possibly being caught with their pants down), it might just be that experienced Democrats are actually disgusted with the virtual deadlock in government today. Besides, they can make much more money as lobbyists or as employees of the powerful corporations which provided them with those marvelous "donations with strings".

    January 6, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  136. Travis- SA, TX

    It's the circle of political life, Jack. Scar took over and Simba has returned.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  137. Dave in MO

    Simple Jack.. The boat is sinking!

    January 6, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  138. Rod

    Jack..... i'm a democrat, but it's good riddance to Senator Dodd....... he stayed in DC about 39 years too long. They should make a movie about his career and call "Scumbag Millionaire".

    January 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  139. Stephanie

    Well, it could be that these people got tired of politics and want to do other things. Probably more family time or time to recover from an illness. I don't really know, but if I had been in politics for as long as they have, I'd want to leave to do other things.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  140. William Lynn

    It's time all the hacks get out regardless of political party. Let's get in some fresh non-partison blood in there.

    January 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  141. KarenB, central Florida

    Read my lips Jack:
    Rats leave sinking ships

    January 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  142. Susanne von Bodman

    because they make way to BETTER Democrats; i.e., Dodd giving way to Blumenthal – now there is a positive development!

    January 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm |