Kudos to Seattle Times reporter Emily Heffter for giving a little space to the well documented thesis that Rep. Dave Reichert has been manipulating his voting record to appear more moderate than he is:
Often, he votes with Republicans on procedural motions, then switches sides and votes with Democrats in the final roll call.
For example, on an energy bill last year, Reichert voted with his fellow Republicans several times — against Democratic motions to close the bill to amendments and bring it to a vote. But in the final vote, he sided with Democrats to pass the bill.
“How can you end up on both sides of the vote?” asked Sandeep Kaushik, Burner’s spokesman.
Kaushik says Reichert in fact is trying to manipulate his image to ensure his re-election. Reichert rarely casts the deciding vote when going against his party on an important issue, Kaushik says, and he joins the Democrats when they are going to win anyway.
Sure the refutation doesn’t come until more than halfway through Heffter’s 1200 word piece, and well away from the prime front page real estate on which the article starts, but no reporter has given more thought or space to exploring beneath the surface of Reichert’s actual voting record, despite the fact that his tactics are both common and, well, obvious. How common?
Reichert wouldn’t be the first to use that strategy, said Matt Barreto, a UW political-science professor.
“It is a common thing that you see a lot that allows a politician to portray themselves a moderate,” he said.
And how obvious? Well, listen to Reichert explain his voting record before a gathering of Republicans back in 2006 (courtesy of TVW’s new player widget):
“So when the leadership comes to me and says , Dave you have to vote over here because we want to protect you and keep this majority, I do it.”
That’s Dave Reichert, “conscience driven independent,” in his own damn words… words backed up by Dan Kirkdorffer’s meticulous fisking of Reichert’s voting record, but words which the media have for the most part ignored when addressing the issue of Reichert’s alleged political moderation. Reichert explains “how things work” back in the other Washington, political science professors validate it and his own voting record demonstrates it. And yet our local news media, desperately longing for that mythical creature known as the modern moderate Republican, have been complicit in presenting this pro-war, pro-Bush, anti-choice congressman as somehow a perfect fit for his suburban swing district.
Darcy Burner, on the other hand, has somehow been given the label of being too progressive for her district, though on what specific issues the gatekeepers of conventional wisdom never bother to tell us. On the war? You can read her Responsible Plan on ending the war for yourself, and see if it’s out of step with the voters in WA-08. Too progressive on reproductive rights? On FISA? On the economy?
Heffter’s piece is a great first step toward setting the record straight on Reichert’s record, but we can’t rely on our local media to tell the whole story. Darcy is going to have to do that herself, and it’s going to cost a lot of money. That’s why she needs your help.
Today is the last day of the fundraising quarter, and heading into the homestretch, pundits and big donors are going to size up the competitiveness of the various races based on its outcome. So please give today and help Darcy hit her end of quarter target. That’s the only way we’re going to dispel the Reichert myth.