A top ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will not be seeking re-election, saying he’s rather spend time on his new writing career.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, published his first novel, The Global War on Morris, in November. He recently spoke with PJM about the book.
But Israel told MSNBC Wednesday evening that he’s leaving Congress with “a sense of frustration.”
“Look, I grew up in New York having two dreams, one to be in Congress. I have done that dream. The other to write parodies about Washington, D.C. Published a parody, a novel last year that did well. I want to continue my writing career and explore that dream,” Israel said.
“But, also, I leave with a sense of frustration. And you just saw that frustration in the clip of Paul Ryan, where he talked about priorities that the American people just don’t have,” the congressman continued.
“We have a middle class that is worried about their paychecks, worried about their job security, worried about their future. And Paul Ryan has said that the entire balance of 2016 will be spent on three things, A, Affordable Care Act repeal, B, Benghazi hearings, and, C, contraception, trying to defund Planned Parenthood. They are just out of touch. They are out of tune. I am frustrated with that. And I do not want to be a part of that.”
Israel accused Ryan of just being “concerned about protecting one thing, and that is their base, their Republican base.”
“They are not concerned with compromise. They are not concerned with the American people and their needs. They are concerned with a right-wing base, pandering to the base in a presidential election year,” he said.
Asked which Republicans he respects, Israel told Chris Matthews, “I respect any moderate Republican.”
Asked to named one, he said, “There aren’t any.”
Then Israel named “Richard Hanna, who most people don’t know, a moderate Republican from upstate New York who is leaving the Congress because there are so few moderates to work with.” Hanna voted against the Obamacare repeal bill Wednesday.
Asked to name a “great Democrat, a statesperson,” Israel named Pelosi.
Liberal 27-year congressman Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) also announced this week that he won’t seek re-election.
“I often think of the truth of the African adage that ‘a person often plants the seeds of trees under whose shade he will never sit,’” McDermott said at his press conference announcing his retirement. “And I think, too, of J. R.R. Tolkien’s lines from The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf says, ‘It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.’”
President Obama hailed McDermott as “a much-needed voice for his most vulnerable constituents.”
“Across America, you’ll find families that are better off because Jim McDermott was fighting for them,” Obama said.