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Trey Gowdy Joins Record Number Of GOP Lawmakers Leaving Capitol Hill

Just minutes before South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy announced that he would forego a bid for reelection to the House of Representatives, a train carrying several GOP lawmakers crashed into a truck in Virginia.

The accident killed the truck’s driver and injured several members of Congress, making it no laughing matter. But it’s hard not to notice the symbolism of a Republican party on track toward disaster in November.

Gowdy tweeted on Wednesday morning that he intends to leave Capitol Hill, quoting the Bible and expressing a desire to return to the judicial branch. “Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system,” he wrote.

That makes sense on a few levels. The 53-year-old is a former prosecutor who has driven colleagues to frustration with a stubborn resolve to beat investigatory dead horses, including Benghazi, since winning South Carolina’s Fourth District in 2011. He is currently chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and chaired the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which blew up as an embarrassment to the Republican leadership.

Taken in context, Gowdy’s decision underscores a trend of House Republicans dropping out of midterm races before they can even begin. By January 31, a total of 33 incumbent GOP lawmakers have announced that they will not run for reelection in 2018, compared to just 15 Democratic reps who will not seek another term. Nine of them are committee chairs, another extraordinary statistic.

On average, only 22 members of the U.S. House of Representatives decide not to defend their seats in a given election cycle.

Other GOP incumbents who are retiring or otherwise not seeking midterm reelection include Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona,Orrin Hatch of Utah and that state’s Rep, Jason Chaffetz.  Hatch is currently the longest-serving Republican in the Senate.

Is there a Trump effect? Saddled with a President whose job approval ratings have hit several historic lows, speculation is rampant that Republicans in Congress are quitting while they’re ahead. Generic polling for November favors Democrats, and the president manages to inflame the public with harsh rhetoric and blundering policy moves each time the GOP begins to gain ground.

Republicans seem to be running scared. As Russell Berman of The Atlantic writes, “If you want to see a political wave forming a year before an election, watch the retirements…2018 is shaping up ominously for Republicans.”

Gowdy might be misled from an ideological point of view, but nobody can accuse him of being a dummy. Like a record number of fellow GOP members, “The Bulldog” is finding an exit door before Trump burns the whole house down.

#EndorseThis: Are Corker And Flake Heroes? Seth Meyers Thinks Not

Lionized for denouncing the authoritarian, plainly deranged president, Senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake are a pair of unlikely heroes. After all, as Seth Meyers recalls, they were all too happy to support Donald Trump for president last year — long after the casino developer’s personality and political defects were obvious.

Now Corker complains that Trump hasn’t grown into the presidency as expected. Except why would anyone be surprised that at 71, Trump hasn’t completely changed his personality over a period of nine months?

Instead of simply walking away, asks Meyers, why aren’t Corker, Flake, and others who complain about Trump doing anything to oppose him? “Trump won’t change his behavior just because you hurl insults at him,” says Seth. “Believe me, I’ve tried!”

These politicians righteously accuse Trump of failing to do his job. But they’re failing to do theirs.

 

#EndorseThis: Colbert Spoofs Trump Feuds With Flake And Corker

Like almost everyone else in America, Stephen Colbert is enjoying Tennessee Senator Bob Corker’s erupting feud with Trump. Brawling broke out again on Twitter Tuesday, after Corker denounced the president on TV morning shows and Trump fired backs several angry tweets.

“Some of what Trump said about Corker was not true,” notes an earnest Colbert. “Specifically, all of it.”

He proceeds to fact-check (and spell-check) the Trump Twitter barrage to great hilarity. And then he moves on to the Senate floor speech of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who offered fellow Republicans a grave warning about the president before announcing his own retirement. Somehow Colbert finds the humor there, too.

#EndorseThis: Seth Meyers Looks Hard At Trump, Pence, And Corker Too

Of all the unintentionally hilarious moments in Mike Huckabee’s groveling interview with Donald Trump (his daughter Sarah’s boss) Seth Meyers picks up what may be the funniest. Stumbling in his diction as always, the president claims he never heard anyone use the word “fake” before he did — an assertion Seth finds impossible to believe for reasons that are, as you will surely agree, quite obvious.

Speaking of fake, nothing merits that scornful description more than Mike Pence’s feigned indignation about the football players who kneeling led to his supposedly spontaneous walkout from a weekend Colts game. The ineffably stupid Veep (and his boss) clumsily revealed that this was actually a planned political stunt, conducted at taxpayer expense. Anyone who insists America would fare better with Pence as president just saw that argument vanish into the Twitter haze.

And then there’s Senator Bob Corker, suddenly a national hero for uttering what everyone has known for months and years about Trump’s dangerous unfitness for his office. For some reason Seth can’t help remembering how Corker sucked up to Trump last year, just like every other Republican official who knew better.