- (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Democratic Congressman Dennis Cardoza of California retired Thursday from his 32-year career on Capitol Hill. In his last statement announcing his retirement, Cardoza took the opportunity to slam his boss, President Obama, for his handling of the current housing foreclosure crisis.
Cardoza, 52, had been elected five times to the House to represent the 18th Congressional District of California, and was also the leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, comprised of fiscally moderate democrats.
In a released statement Cardoza said:
“While I plan to retire from public service after this term in Congress, I will energetically continue my efforts to improve California as a private citizen."
No exact reason for his stepping down was given. However, he was very direct with his frustrations stemming from the current administration:
"I am dismayed by the administration's failure to understand and effectively address the current housing foreclosure crisis."
“Home foreclosures are destroying communities and crushing our economy, and the Administration’s inaction is infuriating.”
The letter only contained these two disparaging lines for the White House, but they seem to have made a startling impact in the halls of Congress. According to Politico, “House Democratic aides and party strategists, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they were taken aback by the harshness of Cardoza’s message – he’s not known as a bomb-thrower – and couldn’t recall any recently departing member tossing such a grenade on their way out the door.”
The GOP will more than likely use Cardoza’s departure as an example of Obama’s own party growing dissatisfied with his leadership.
Cardoza has had his frustrations with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the past as well. In particular, the two disagreed over the health care law, causing him to vote against Pelosi for Democratic leader in early 2011. Instead of Pelosi, his vote went to the more moderate Rep. Jim Costa, also of California.
Pelosi herself has had differences with the president concerning housing foreclosure. Although she refused to sign Cardoza’s letter to Obama last week asking the president to take bolder steps to prevent foreclosures in the state, Pelosi did, however, according to The Hill, prepare a letter of her own to the president regarding the current housing epidemic. Reports state that Pelosi, while differing with Obama on a number of issues, fights to keep up the appearance of solidarity, lest the Democrats look divided going into a tough re-election year.
Despite being a moderate, Cardoza did not escape the wrath of the GOP political ads. Last month, the National Republican Congressional Committee launched an ad attacking him over the growing national debt, attempting to pressure the Blue Dog Democrat to vote in favor of a balanced budget amendment. He was charged in the ad for “wasting billions.”
If he wasted billions, it certainly did not go toward his campaign fundraising account. According to The National Journal, Cardoza raised just $23,000 in the past three months.
Cardoza and the Democratic National Committee could not be reached for comment.