Fanatics are the first to betray their beliefs in order to defend them.
Not too long ago, a guy from suburban Chicago named Denny Hastert was Speaker of the House and second in line to the presidency. But, that was then. Hastert turned in his resignation and as of Monday he'll be a private citizen again. All the best to him.
Meanwhile, a once-powerful senator named Trent Lott also said he's quitting. He'll be back in Mississippi by the end of the year. All the best to him as well.
That said, any decent political wonk will tell you the most competitive seats tend to be the open seats. Check this out:
In the House, no less than 16 Republicans have already announced they are not seeking re-election, including Barbara Cubin, who holds the Wyoming at-large seat once inhabited by a certain Richard Bruce Cheney. Two others are open due to deaths, while two more will be open due to resignations (Hastert's in Illinois, and Bobby Jindal's seat in Louisiana, as the latter was elected governor). Meanwhile, only five Democrats are moving on, and three of them are running for Senate in their respective states.
At least six Republican Senate seats will be open (including one of our own). Conversely, not one Democratic incumbent up in 2008 has expressed a desire to leave.
At the very least, all this certainly doesn't help GOP chances of taking Congress back.