As most of the political world was focused Wednesday on Robert Mueller's testimony on Capitol Hill, there surprise was news from Michigan that jolted Republicans and the political punditocracy.
After less than two, two-year terms, Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., announced he would not seek re-election from Michigan's 10th U.S. House District (Macomb County).
The small businessman-turned-lawmaker cited his conclusion, in Washington, "rhetoric overwhelms policy and politics consumes much of the oxygen in this city."
Most Michigan Republicans who spoke to Newsmax were inclined to take Mitchell, 62, at his word. Having lost a primary in 2014 badly to Rep. John Mollenaar in the Midland-based 4th District, Mitchell moved to the 10th District where veteran Rep. Candice Miller was retiring and handily won the GOP nomination.
"The atmosphere is toxic in Washington," Steve Mitchell (no relation), dean of Michigan pollsters, told Newsmax. "Yes, I believe Paul, just as I believed [former Michigan GOP Rep.] David Trott [in 2018] when he said he was retiring after two terms. Why put up with abuse in Congress when you can relax at your summer home in Oakland County and your winter home in Florida?"
This "dash for the door" after a brief stint in Congress is not confined to Michigan Republicans.
Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., is leaving after three terms to seek the Republican nomination for senator and Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., is running for governor of Montana in 2020 — three years after winning his seat in a special election.
"Being in the minority party in the House is no fun at all," Dan Schnur, Professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications and the University of California – Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies.
Schnur stressed "there's almost no way to make a meaningful impact" in the minority.
"Someone with private sector success like Mitchell obviously thought that speechifying without having the ability to make change was a waste of time," he said.
Prof. G. Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall University, considered the premier pollster in Pennsylvania was even stronger in analyzing the "in and out" stints of GOP House Members.
"Congress is dysfunctional," Madonna told us. "The polarization and partisanship are so strong and the personal relationships that existed between members of both parties in the past have disintegrated. Serving is no longer worthwhile or rewarding to many members."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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