In the aftermath of George Voinovich's Monday retirement announcement, Senate Guru thinks Chuck Grassley will be the next senior Republican to bail:
With such a sizable Democratic majority in the Senate, Grassley must know that he'll never be Finance Committee Chairman again. It will be several cycles, at least, before Senate Republicans even have a reasonable shot at getting back to 50 seats. Does Grassley want to spend another six years, including the first years of his 80's, in a guaranteed minority in which the only question is whether or not the GOP could sustain a filibuster?
And in a reference to Voinivich's speech, Senate Guru offers this touching vision:
I would imagine that spending your day playing with your grandchildren is a lot more enjoyable than spending your day waking up at 5am to catch a shuttle from Des Moines to Washington in order to take votes you know your caucus will lose, unable to make any progress on your desired agenda, and then staying up until midnight with policy meetings, political fundraisers, and personal fundraising calls that will all be in vain anyway given the relative weakness of your caucus' minority.
What Senate Guru misses is that one of those grandchildren is exactly why Grassley will NOT retire in 2010.
As the Legislature convenes today, Rep. Pat Grassley starts his second term at age 25. He's too young to take over for Grandpa next year... but in 2016, assuming all goes according to plan, Pat's got a decade of legislative experience under his belt at age 33.
Of course, my preferred solution is to beat Chuck next year and make the question of dynastic succession moot. Oh, wait, I better not say anything to the governor about dynastic succession.
But wouldn't a Chet Culver 2010 avenge-my-father Senate race be a good story? We could hire Mandy Patinkin for the ads.
If Senate Guru is right and I'm wrong... look for a relatively quick shakeup at the Department of Agriculture.