On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Better Know a Congressman's Voting Record: Dave Reichert (WA-08)

If you've been following this blog you know that I've been paying particularly close attention to how my Republican congressman, Dave Reichert, has voted on a number of bills. A particularly frequent pattern of voting I've previously written about, is for him to oppose a bill every step of the way before voting in favor of it only on the final passage vote. Sort of a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too approach to playing both sides of the aisle.

This tactic has been particularly successful in garnering Reichert favorable press coverage that describes the congressman as a "moderate" and an "independent". The Seattle Times' Washington bureau correspondent Alicia Mundy, has been front and center of the fawning coverage, quick to shine a light on examples of moderateness, and the Seattle Times editorial board have been nothing if not consistent in their undying support.

But a funny thing happens when you actually take a closer look at Reichert's voting record: things aren't quite as they seem.

In the 109th Congress, there were 622 votes (just over half of all votes) where the majority of Democrats voted against the majority of Republicans. Missouri congressman Todd Akin sided with Republicans on 603 of those votes, or 98.5% of the time he voted, establishing himself as perhaps the most conservative voter casting as many votes as he did (1192) of that Congress. On the 86 most important contentious votes, he voted with his Republican caucus 84 times.

In that same Congress Reichert voted the same as congressman Akin 990 times, meaning that 81% of the time he voted with the most conservative members of his party.

Fast forward to the present Congress, the 110th, and Akin again is at the top of the all Republican voting charts, having voted 100% of the time with Republicans on the contentious votes through the first 186 votes (as of last Friday). However, my barometer this session is the minority leader himself, John Boehner, who also has a 100% track record of voting with Republicans when their majority opposes the Democratic majority.

So where does Reichert stand this year?

Surprisingly, despite all you might read in the news, and despite all his claims for being a moderate, this year through Friday's voting (189 votes), Reichert has voted 156 times like his most conservative minority leader, or 83% of the time. That's more than in the previous Congress!

When I ran the numbers I certainly wasn't expecting the percentage to rise, and granted it covers a far smaller vote sample, but nevertheless, rise it has. Another interesting point is that while 24% of votes in the 109th Congress were procedural votes and not contested, this year 34% of votes have been. Perhaps it is simply the nature of the schedule, but it surely doesn't indicate there is less contention this year. We don't need to look at numbers to know that Republicans have been opposing almost every Democratic attempt to undo the damage done over the previous six years.

So while Reichert spins his positions so as to pad a resume he'll try to convince voters about during his next re-election campaign, let's not lose sight of the fact that his voting record masks a level of conservative support that clearly puts him right of center, and supportive of the same positions the most conservative in his party are backing.

1 Comment(s):

Comment by: Anonymous Anonymous

Thanks for continuing to track Reichert's record for those of us who don't have time!!

I'm curious what your take is on his veterans shindig he is planning. Reichert is apparently making calls on the Eastside to publicise this activity.

My sense is that he has been voting against veterans, but is holding a forum to give the appearance that he supports them.

Pete M.

3/29/2007 1:22 PM PT  

Post a Comment
All comments are welcome, however, rather than posting an Anonymous comment please consider selecting Other and providing your name or nickname so others know who you are. Thanks.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< On The Road To 2008 Home