Reversing a position he took in the heat of his 2006 reelection campaign, U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert joined 170 fellow House Republicans in signing on to a letter to FCC Chair Julius Genachowski, urging him not to proceed with plans to protect Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband as a “telecommunications service.”
In a 2006 debate with challenger Darcy Burner, Reichert claimed strong support for Net Neutrality in response to a question from the Seattle Times’ Ryan Blethen:
I also support net neutrality. [The Internet] should be an equal place where people to come, equal companies to come. It should be the choice of the people, when they Google, the biggest company doesn’t come up, but the company that the people have chosen as the most important site pops up. That’s why I supported, and voted for, net neutrality.
Yet now that Reichert feels safely ensconced in incumbency, in an arguably Republican-leaning year, he has apparently abandoned his former stance, and joined colleagues Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rodgers in toeing the Republican Party line against the interests of his Internet dependent district.
Not that such an unprincipled reversal should come as much of a surprise from a congressman who, in the absence of reporters, routinely brags about the calculated manner in which he casts his votes. Did Reichert ever really support Net Neutrality? Did he even understand the issue? Or was this merely a position he was advised he had to take when facing off against the net-savvy Burner in his net-savvy district, and in the midst of a blue wave election?
And given the way Reichert proudly claims (behind closed doors) a “90/10″ Republican voting record in what he acknowledges to be a “50/50 district,” voters must wonder if there any issues on which he can be trusted to take an unwavering, principled stand. As Josh succinctly explains over at Publicola:
We’re not rubes, we get how politicians work. However, Reichert’s candor belies the credit he’s been given by Seattle Times for being “principled,” a reason they’ve given their hundreds of thousands of readers to vote for him.
More important, if Reichert isn’t an environmentalist at heart, voters should know that because when push comes to shove on future bills (when he’s more confident with his long term incumbency), he may feel comfy voting his real conscience.
That’s assuming Reichert actually has a “real conscience” on anything other than abortion, the one issue he privately admits drove him into the arms of the anti-choice Republican Party.
So much for his “conscience-driven independent streak.”