Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thanks to Timid Trio, Nebraska "52nd State" in Congressional Power Rankings

by Kyle Michaelis
This is embarrassing - but it really puts into perspective the failure and ill repute of Nebraska's all-Republican House delegation. While Sen. Ben Nelson sky-rocketed up the charts of's Power Rankings after a landslide reelection and assignment to the Appropriations Committee, as Sen. Chuck Hagel held steady at #48 despite the Republican Party's loss of its Senate majority, Nebraska still finds itself in the unenviable position as the 52nd state in terms of political clout because of our weak-willed, do-as-they're-told Republican Representatives.

52nd!!! There are only 50 states, yet we somehow managed to rank below the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and even American Samoa. The only states we managed to rank ahead of are Idaho and hurricane-ravaged Louisiana.

Pretty pathetic, isn't it? But, looking at the individual rankings of our Congressmen, it's hard to argue with the results. The Second District's Lee Terry is understandably the highest-ranked in our House delegation since he's in his fifth term in office. Still, he came in no higher than 377th out of 439. And, of the 34 Representatives from the Class of 1998, Terry is tied for 2nd weakest.

Then, there's the First District's Jeff Fortenberry, who has to be the biggest let-down of the entire bunch. After almost managing to surpass Lee Terry in 2006 - in only his first term in Congress - Fortenberry has plummeted to 420th out of 439.

Of course, some of this precipitous drop can be written-off as the result of the Democrats taking the House, but that doesn't explain why Fortenberry would receive special demerit for his "weak committee assignments" and why he ranks as the 3rd weakest of 41 Representatives from the Class of 2004. 19 Republicans rank ahead of Fortenberry in his own class. That doesn't speak well of Fortenberry, and it's not a good sign for Nebraska's First District - not at all.

Finally, there's poor Adrian Smith, our Freshman Congressman from the Third District who's come into office with such low expectations that he's probably congratulating himself for not being at the very bottom of the list. Smith actually ended up ranking 426th out of 439 - still doing a lot of damage to Nebraska's overall numbers but a bit of a moral victory, nonetheless.

Nebraska - the 52nd State. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. But, unless some things change in the next election, there's no reason to expect our situation to improve. We are as powerless as the ineffective Representatives we've elected, and we - the voters of Nebraska - are the only ones who can do anything about it.

Terry, Fortenberry, Smith - we know what they are. These rankings just confirm what we've already seen, heard, and experienced for ourselves. We'll either wake-up in 2008 and demand something more, or we can expect and will rightfully deserve more of the same.

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Blogger Eric said...

This is what we get for being such a lopsided state when it comes to party affiliation. The Republican candidate is pretty much assured victory in the general election, which attracts a lot of Republican candidates in the primary. The winner ends up falling well short of a majority in the primary and then goes on to win the general. Do you think Fortenberry or Smith would have won their primaries if they included a run-off? I think they ought to switch to some kind of instant run-off or something to avoid these poor quality plurality candidates. The only other thing that could improve the Republican elected officials in Nebraska is a stronger Democratic party.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you bash so much on the republicans but you democrats can't even control your own Senator to align himself with your view point. Nelson does not support the democrat position in the war in Iraq. Maybe its time you listen up to the wise senator!


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