Search This Blog


McCrery departure surprising but politically astute

Apparently, the frustration of a bifurcated life between career and family and an inability to pursue the agenda he wanted combined to have veteran Republican U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery decide against running for reelection for Louisiana’s Fourth District. The timing of the announcement of his decision, however, additionally likely included partisan factors.

It was well known that McCrery was leaving sooner rather than later, given his past sentiments about the disruption his career caused to his family not only for him but of his wife and two boys. Something which may have encouraged him to hang on was his high position in the House GOP, at present the ranking member of perhaps the most powerful committee in the body, Ways and Means.

The problem was, if not for the Democrats taking over control of the House last year, he would have been chairman of Ways and Means, and in position to write fiscal policy that emphasizes greater individual freedom, less government intrusiveness, pro-growth and greater efficiency. By contrast, Democrats have tried to push an agenda that takes more of the peoples’ earnings to favor special interests, would rather sacrifice prosperity on the altars of various causes such as the environmentalist anti-growth religion and other forms of political correctness, and thereby refuse to reform government programs to make them work better.

Unfortunately, McCrery found out very quickly few of his ideas had any realistic chance of seeing the light of day, and the political trends of next years elections offer no assurance that Republicans could take back the majority. While Democrats might follow the suicidal path of nominating Sen. Hillary Clinton for the presidency, the large number of announced retirements from the House (his being the 18th so far) by Republicans make their chances only even of retaking the House even with a Clinton nomination.

And, partisan politics may have played a role in the timing of the decision. He might have taken the chance to see if a Clinton meltdown would vault him into the chairmanship, then if not depart in 2010. But even as that would have led to two more years of decreased presence in his teenagers’ lives, a 2008 exit might also increase Republican chances of holding the district. With Clinton likely heading the Democrat ticket, that would be poison to any Democrat trying to succeed McCrery.

McCrery definitely will be missed in both the district and the state. Louisiana would be fortunate if his replacement is of such quality.

No comments: