Time mag: Dem committee heads may follow Pelosi and retire after vote

Via JWF, my sense/hope is that conservative enthusiasm is already as high as it can go. But in case you’re bummed that most of the wizened Democratic leadership comes from monolithically blue districts that makes them impossible to unseat, rest assured that there is in fact a way to knock them off next week.

Break their spirits.

Other Democrats are sure to follow Pelosi out of the Capitol. After the GOP lost the House in 2006, 27 Republicans called it quits. But in the case of Pelosi’s Democratic cloakroom, the exodus could be deeper: five of the 20 current committee chairmen are her allies from California. Without their champion, some veterans such as Education and Labor Committee chairman George Miller, who has been in Congress since 1975, may be inclined to leave. Even if they don’t head for the exits, they might choose to abandon their gavels: Standards Committee chair Zoe Lofgren, also of California, is serving at Pelosi’s request and has made no secret of her distaste at being her colleagues’ ethical watchdog.

Others are older — Rules Committee chair Louise Slaughter and Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers, both 81, know that life in the minority holds less appeal for octogenarians. And, in any case, it might be time for some fresh blood. The average age of Democratic House chairs is nearly 70, while top Republicans are, on average, a decade younger — thanks, in part, to the 2006 spate of retirements. Democratic chairs have spent an average of 13.5 terms, or 27 years, in office, compared to Republicans who average 9.5 terms, or 19 years, in office…

For many of the old bulls who survived a dozen years in the minority to get their chance to govern, a return to second-class citizenship is unappealing. A spate of rank-and-file retirements is likely, giving Republicans an extra advantage Dems enjoyed in 2008: dozens of open seats in districts that haven’t been vacant for decades. This could set the GOP up for more gains in 2012, though President Obama will be on the ticket next time around.

In other words, deliver a 60-seat pick-up on Tuesday and you’ll get a shot at turning it into a 75-seat pick-up a few months from now. Is that good enough, or did you need even more incentive?

Via RCP, this is the best I can do, guys. If watching this doesn’t make you want to vote Republican, nothing will.