Republicans, especially, are leaving Congress midterm to get a money-making head start
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., is leaving the House to get a head start on his new career as a cable TV news analyst. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
There are really just three ways to give up a seat in Congress on your own timetable: retire, resign or quit. And the method with the least attractive connotations has become particularly popular in the last decade, especially among Republicans.
Those who use the term “retirement” properly are lawmakers who decline to run for re-election but complete the term for which the voters chose them before returning to civilian life, whether as money-makers or golf club denizens. Departures are best labeled “resignations” when senators or House members are forced to up and leave by particularly good, or ruinously bad, professional circumstances — elevated to higher positions in public service, most often, or politically poisoned by moral exposures or criminal failings.