Rep. David Obey (D) of Wisconsin on May 5 became the latest legislator to announce his retirement. He did not mince words in his statement. “Frankly, I had considered retiring after the 2000 election, but I became so angered by the policies of the Bush administration that I decided to stick around as long as he was here,” he said.
Rep. Obey named three goals he had made when he first ran for Congress. One was to make America more fair for the poor and the middle class. However, he said that powerful political and economic forces had stopped him from achieving it. Obey also aimed to move America into “the ranks of civilized nations,” by making it possible for people to get quality health care without begging. Obey said he waited 41 years for health care reform and passing it made everything worthwhile.
“Today, I am similarly proud that I was the principal author of the much maligned but absolutely essential Economic Recovery Act of 2009, which in the midst of the deepest and most dangerous economic catastrophe in 70 years, has pumped desperately needed purchasing power into the economy to cushion the fall and reduced the number of families whose breadwinners were thrown out of work."
His third goal was to expand federal support for education—an ambition that he believes made progress.
Obey added that he was tired of trivial political coverage. “I regard what is happening to the news profession as nothing short of a national catastrophe, which I know pains many quality journalists as much as it pains me,” he said.