I suppose I’ve been unfair to Rep. Dave Reichert. In a bold political move, Reichert struck a forceful blow against the abuse of earmarks by, you know… issuing a video news release. And how did I respond? I teased him about being the 419th most powerful member of the House.
Well that’s the sort of deceptive rhetoric that simply isn’t worthy of the name “Horse’s Ass”. It was mean spirited. It was cynical. And well… it was downright wrong. For it turns out that Reichert is not the 419th most powerful member of the House — those were the old rankings. The new rankings came out a few weeks ago, and Reichert has climbed all the way up to 401st. That’s better than 34 other congressman, some of whom aren’t even dead, retired, indicted or behind bars. Congratulations Dave. Another 18 years of attrition and you might actually discover some real influence.
Of course, that still leaves Reichert distantly mired in last place relative to the rest of the Washington state delegation, but when you have a political powerhouse like Rep. Doc Hastings in your ranks, that’s to be understood.
|House Power Rankings by Overall Score|
|Name||Rank in State||Overall Score||Rank in House|
|Rep. Dicks (D-WA 6th)||1||39.01||22|
|Rep. McDermott (D-WA 7th)||2||34.06||39|
|Rep. Inslee (D-WA 1st)||3||29.57||72|
|Rep. Baird (D-WA 3rd)||4||16.48||212|
|Rep. Larsen (D-WA 2nd)||5||14.92||236|
|Rep. Smith (D-WA 9th)||6||13.69||258|
|Rep. Hastings (R-WA 4th)||7||11.97||301|
|Rep. McMorris Rodgers (R-WA 5th)||8||9.73||356|
|Rep. Reichert (R-WA 8th)||9||6.45||401|
So how did Reichert do it? How did he climb 18 rungs on that 435-rung DC power ladder in just one year? Well, of course, all those deaths, retirements, indictments and convictions might have made a little bit of room for him at the top (of the tenth decile), not to mention his impressive use of video news releases. But a closer analysis of the numbers reveals that Reichert’s meteoric rise to the top (of the bottom) is largely based on his growing facility with, you guessed it: earmarks!
Reichert may just be 401st amongst House members in terms of overall power, but his 36 earmarks totaling over $27 million last year ranks him 73rd in terms of “member projects.” But even more impressive, Reichert climbs from a distant 9th place in the overall power rankings within the WA delegation, to a comfortable 3rd place when it comes to their “Earmark Scores”. Again, congratulations Dave! It looks like you’ve finally figured out at least one part of the legislative process.
|House Power Rankings by Earmarks Score|
|Name||Rank in State||Earmark Score||Rank in House|
|Rep. Dicks (D-WA 6th)||1||2.51||7|
|Rep. Larsen (D-WA 2nd)||2||1.43||39|
|Rep. Reichert (R-WA 8th)||3||1.01||73|
|Rep. Baird (D-WA 3rd)||4||0.98||82|
|Rep. Hastings (R-WA 4th)||5||0.96||84|
|Rep. Smith (D-WA 9th)||6||0.95||86|
|Rep. McDermott (D-WA 7th)||7||0.75||152|
|Rep. Inslee (D-WA 1st)||8||0.74||155|
|Rep. McMorris Rodgers (R-WA 5th)||9||0.70||167|
Of course, Rep. Norm Dicks remains by far our state’s earmark champion, but then, Dicks has never been shy about bringing home the bacon and proudly frying it up for his constituents. I mean, if Dicks were to suddenly take a principled stand against earmarks, well, that might be interpreted by the press as the height of hypocrisy. But Reichert, he was the sheriff you know, and so his sudden conversion from needing an appropriations seat “now” to promising his video camera that he’s gonna give up earmarks (during an election year)… well… I guess we should just take him at his word.