Rep. Vic Snyder, an Arkansas Democrat, has decided to retire from Congress. Snyder’s chances of re-election in 2010 were minimal in a state as conservative as Arkansas. One poll showed him 17 percentage points behind Tim Griffin, his likely Republican challenger.
Griffin, a protege of Karl Rove, is a former U.S. attorney in Arkansas, having received one of those controversial Bush administration nominations that involved ousting the incumbent. It’s far from clear to me that Griffin is a particularly strong candidate, but it’s quite clear that Snyder was not going to survive what will likely be a tsunami in the state of Arkansas (and not just Arkansas).
Here’s an amusing “inside baseball” sidelight to the story: the poll that shows Snyder 17 points behind Griffin apparently was commissioned by the lefty blog Firedoglake. This is causing some to speculate that Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher is trying to scare vulnerable Democrats into retirement in order to kill health care reform.
I suppose it’s possible for a lefty blogger to be presumptuous enough to believe that veteran politicians can’t figure out which way the wind is blowing in their district without a blogger-commissioned poll. But what is the advantage to the left (even that faction of it that’s too petulant to appreciate the extent to which Obamacare advances its agenda) of Snyder’s exit and likely replacement by a Rove protege? He’ll still be around to vote for an insufficiently leftist version of health care reform this winter. In fact, if Snyder is retiring he is, if anything, more likely to vote for any version of reform the Senate insists upon than he would be if he had to face Arkansas voters.
So let’s give Hamsher the benefit of doubt and assume that she was trying to scare Snyder into voting against health care legislation, rather than trying to scare him out of Congress. That scenario paints her as ridiculous enough.
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