cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Rep. Dave Obey (D-WI) who represents the congressional district in and around
He is a tough, ornery, cantankerous truck-no-fools kind of a guy. His staff is the same. I doubt there is a harder-working Congressman or staff in the Capitol.
All of that now said, he is as close to a socialist as I have ever encountered. His chief of staff and I argued several years ago on several occasions about what is now sometimes called ObamaCare. Both he and his boss were no strangers to cusswords and loved to bait their verbal opponents.
The idea that this stalwart of Congress was so threatened as to think it necessary to retire rather than risk defeat is almost unbelievable. He has not, until this year, had a real challenger. His turf was his turf and no one had, to now, mounted the requisite effort; no one was threatening enough until now.
This has to speak to the general tone in
Obey is a pro at this. He has won 21 straight races. If he was shook to the point of retiring rather than fighting for another two years, there is something afoot. The internal polling had to be grim. He is the most important member of the House since it is he who decides where all the money will be spent. Power such as that isn't easy to give up.
This made me think, finally, that all the talk has legs. To this point, I thought that it might be a tough race for some people but that the old stalwarts were still, most likely, safe.
That changed in my mind yesterday when Obey made his announcement. I don’t doubt for a moment that Obey’s announcement has caused some other stalwarts to start looking over their shoulders a bit more seriously. If the old pro can’t make it happen this year, there are others who’ll be dead meat, too.
I must say that I’ll not miss the ornery old socialist. I wonder who will end up hiring his chief of staff. Whoever hires him will have to be tough enough to handle him, and there can’t be many of those people on Capitol Hill. Maybe he’ll hang it up too. After all, he has had quite a ride already.