Look who's running for Congress - Again
Being a Congressman is such a lousy job, you wonder why politicians spend so much money and make such a herculean effort to get there - and stay there.
Hours are brutal, forget any semblance of family life, constituents are ignorant and a pain in the neck, and most of your collegues are insufferable louts.
But the chance to exercise power and make your mark on history (not to mention stuff a few dollars into your bank account through a variety of legal, but unethical measures) appear to be too alluring to pass up - especially for those who recently lost an election and are dying to get back.
The midterm election season is just ramping up, but already four former House members are running for congressional seats, with more almost certainly on the way. And this follows a 2012 election in which the largest number of former members returned to the House in almost a half-century.
Former Pennsylvania Rep. Marjorie Margolies, a Democrat who last served in Congress when Boyz II Men topped the charts, has launched a campaign for a vacant suburban Philadelphia seat. Former Rep. Bob Barr, a 1990s-era libertarian lightning rod who gained fame for helping to oversee President Bill Clinton's impeachment, is running for a seat in the Atlanta suburbs.
Two others -- former Democratic Rep. Joe Baca of California and ex-GOP Rep. Robert Dold of Illinois -- are waging comebacks after losing their seats last year.
And officials from both parties count at least five other former members who lost last year and are seriously thinking about running again.
Congress, it turns out, is still a desirable place to be.
"It sort of bounces around in your head. Once you have the opportunity to serve in Congress, I don't think a former member stops thinking about coming back," Barr said. "It gets in your blood."
Barr ran as the Libertarian Party candidate in 2008 but that fleeting notoriety apparently wasn't enough. Since most politicians are highly competitive individuals, once the juices start flowing again, it's hard to hold back.
The big drawback is that these former members are sent back to the back bench; any seniority they might have had is gone and they begin their terms as rookies - if they win. Nine members won back their seats in 2012, the most since 1966. And former members have the virtue of possessing name recognition and a rolodex full of potential contributors.
It looks like for some former members, there will, indeed, be a second act to their political career.