Friday, May 19, 2006

Jim Esch Calls Ineffective Lee Terry to Task

by Kyle Michaelis

I literally have no clue how successful Jim Esch's campaign for Congress will ultimately prove. The prospects for taking on a four-term incumbent such as Lee Terry are never good. Still, Esch has proven that he's a serious candidate, and - more than any other in Nebraska history - his youth-oriented, Internet-focused campaign is going to test the limits and rewards of such an approach in the generally traditional Midwest - even in Omaha, a youth-dominated metropolis by most Nebraska standards.

Clearly, Esch has one of the best campaign websites in the country. The praise heaped on its design has, at times, almost overshadowed Esch's message. Still, Esch fights on, using technology to stay in touch with his supporters like no other candidate in the state. It's really quite impressive. In fact, Esch even writes an online journal (or blog) that he updates almost as frequently as the New Nebraska Network.

Lately, Esch has been particularly focused on taking Terry to task for his inability and unwillingness to distinguish himself as something more than a Republican rubberstamp in Congress. In his most recent post, Esch writes:
I was sent an interesting link today - Among the services offered on Congress.Org’s website is a power ranking for all members of congress. These rankings are based on position, influence and ability to pass legislation. According to these rankings, Rep. Lee Terry was ranked 312 out 438 members of the House. (Jeff Fortenberry and Tom Osborne were 329 and 222 respectively.)

The primary reasons for Rep. Terry receiving such a low ranking were 1) all the amendments he offered were unsuccessful, and 2) he did not advance any legislation in 2005, despite his long tenure and position on committees.

At first I found this hard to believe, I mean Lee has been out in DC for almost 8 years, plenty of time to garner some sort of influence, one would think. So, I decided to conduct a little more research. And, guess what, this was absolutely correct.

According to the Library of Congress of the 36 bills/amendments Lee introduced, only two made it out of committee and were brought to a vote. Both were resoundly defeated.

In what many consider to be one of the worst “do nothing” Congresses in our history, our representative ranks in the bottom 1/3 for his effectiveness. I don’t want to be negative about this but these are the facts. And, it is important people realize them.

Obviously, I think the Second District deserves better and I would like to have the opportunity to prove that I can. Heck, if I only do as well as Jeff Fortenberry as a freshman Congressman, I would only be 17 spots behind where Lee is now.

Esch makes a good point. Terry has eight years of experience under his belt yet has only a sophomoric level of influence. With the importance of Omaha to the Nebraska economy and its vital role as a trade center for the entire country, that's simply unacceptable.

Nebraska's second district does deserve better. Its voters would obviously benefit from representation that puts more of a premium on their interests than those of the Republican Party. Thus, it hopefully stands to reason that they would benefit from electing a Congressman like Jim Esch.

This race is going to stay under the RADAR. That doesn't mean it might not hold-out some surprises come election day. Esch should keep up the good work. He might just make believers out of us yet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to to confirm this and to be fair, I would point out, that 8 years in the House is not a terribly long tenure. If you compare Terry to members with the same tenure, he winds up 17th out of 36. Not terribly impressive, but not horrible either. His tenure-wise peers rank from #29 to #424. I would also note he the lowest-ranked Republican in this group, however.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHAT were the amendments he offered? If they were more reflective of the needs of the Omaha area, perhaps that's why they didn't pass. I have not looked to see what those amendments were, but it probably makes sense that out of all those members in the Democrat controlled House, that a Republican's amendments didn't make it out of committee.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calling Lee Terry "ineffective" may be an unfair label. I think it's unfair to characterize a less-than-senior member of the House as being ineffective, and now he's just coming into that period of time where he is getting some seniority. It would be a tragic mistake for Nebraskans to throw away that seniority that is just now starting to build.


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