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.