Bye-Bye Barney

Barney Frank announced a few minutes ago that he will not run for re-election to the House next year:

Frank said he originally intended to run for one more term, but that his decision was partially due to the fact that the state’s new redistricting map will include many people he has never represented before.

Which presumably is another way of saying that, after a relatively close race in 2010, Frank was concerned that he might lose this time in a more conservative district. Frank has a lot to answer for, but will his replacement as ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee be an improvement? Um, no: it is Maxine Waters.

There are often personal factors that play a role when individual House members decide not to seek re-election, but in the aggregate, such decisions indicate one of two things–either the representative fears that he may lose the next election, or he believes that his party is doomed to stay in the minority, which in the House isn’t much fun. The telling statistic is that Frank is the 17th House Democrat to announce he will not seek re-election, compared with six Republicans.


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