Local journalists have been asking outgoing Republican Congressman Dave Reichert to reflect on his 14 years of service to the people of Washington's 8th District and to give Democratic Congresswoman-elect Kim Schrier some advice she might find helpful as she begins to take on her new role. This makes a lot of sense! After all, Reichert served for 7 terms, won his races by several points each cycle, and he did it all while hiding from his own constituents and dreaming of installing "hard doors" to keep them out. He also clearly spent plenty of time at the congressional gym, so he could at LEAST offer Schrier some solid info on the culture in the weight room and the state of the treadmills, provided, of course, that he'd risk losing gains by maintaining a strict cardio routine.
But, alas. In a recent exit interview with King 5, Reichert gave us many more reasons to celebrate his departure.
NEW interview with outgoing Congressman @davereichert. His advice to his Republican colleagues in the House and what's missing currently: pic.twitter.com/2tZKwydNU2
— Natalie Brand (@NatalieABrand) November 14, 2018
When asked to give advice to Republicans in the House, Reichert suggested that their current focus on "some of the technical aspects of how campaigns are run, how much money is raised" is fine, but it misses the "big picture," which he lays out in classic, nonsensical fashion: "All people want in this country is a common sense, logical person and congress to come together and work together." That's it. He nailed it. We need a person—a logical person—and Congress to come together. To fuse together into a single being. A Congressbeing. If we fuse everyone together, how can there be a partisan divide?
A more generous reading of Reichert's position on all of this would be that he's calling for Republicans to "work together" with Democrats to pass bills, despite the fact that the Democrats will only control one chamber of Congress. That's not a bad thought, Dave! But go tell it to Sen. Mitch McConnell, who's already laying the groundwork to oppose any piece of legislation the Democrats bring forward, just like he opposed giving Judge Merrick Garland a hearing. Or go tell it to the President, who denied funding for his idiotic wall in exchange for a deal on immigration so that he could continue to use the issue to inflame his base as need be.
His advice for Schrier is somehow even more confused:
.@davereichert advice for his successor @DrKimSchrier who flipped #WA08 from red to blue for the first time in the district's history. Rep. Reichert and Congresswoman-elect Schrier will have an in-person meeting on Monday #waelex pic.twitter.com/EL4jJPrEqV
— Natalie Brand (@NatalieABrand) November 14, 2018
"You actually represent a district that is a very evenly split district as far as party, including the independents," Reichert advises Schrier, before almost immediately messing up his own math in the following sentences by suggesting that the district is half red and half blue. "So, she will find that she will be pulled to the left by members of her own party to take votes, far left, that she may not want to take, and she’ll also be pulled to the right where she may not want to be. But she’s going to have to make a decision, and those votes will be the ones that make 50 percent of her constituency unhappy with her no matter what she does."
Incredible. In his 14 years in Congress, Reichert's big lesson is that Schrier will have to make decisions, and that those decisions will have to be made. Moreover, those decisions will have consequences. And if she chooses to vote for bills that Republicans like, then the Democrats in her district will get mad. Conversely, if she chooses to vote for bills that Democrats like, then the Republicans in her district will get mad. The thing she really has to do is have the courage to make these decisions.
This man got paid CASH MONEY to represent a district for 14 fucking years, and the one thing he has to say is that the job involves making decisions? Fuck!
But, again, to be fair, Reichert didn't really have to make a lot of decisions during his years of service—Paul Ryan and Trump made those decisions for him. During his last term, Reichert voted with Trump's agenda 92 percent of the time, which, according to his own understanding of the electorate, does not reflect the purple views of his district. And you can't blame his constituents for not being forthcoming about their views on the issues. They tried to tell him what they wanted. He just wouldn't listen.
Schrier will be fine without this man's advice. But at least it's comforting to know that the people of the 8th district will no longer be governed by an ineffectual, cowardly, often confused former Sheriff who didn't even do the thing he's famous for doing.
Just for old times' sake, I'd like to end this post with the final installment of Reichert Watch.
Every time Reichert takes a party line vote that hurts his constituents or introduces needless legislation or does anything at all, we’ll add it to the list.
• Though The Seattle Times praised Reichert for his “conscience-driven independent streak,” during his final year in Congress he voted with Trump's agenda 92 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight. • In November of 2017, Reichert didn't respond to an invitation from his constituents to hold a town hall, so Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal stepped in and did the job for him.
• In May he voted against the latest version of Trumpcare, but only after it became clear the Republicans in the U.S. House had the votes to pass it
• On March 9, he voted for the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
• A week later, after a Congressional Budget Office analysis found the plan could leave 24 million people across the country without insurance by 2026, he defended it.
• Before that, Reichert made misleading statements about threats posed by his own constituents.
• Recently, he voted for the SCRUB act, which creates a regulatory committee to identify and eliminate regulations that don’t directly increase the GDP. The committee’s goals align with White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s plan to “deconstruct the administrative state,” but the irony of commissioning a regulatory agency to cut back on regulations is lost on no one, especially not tax payers who are being charged $30 million for the favor.
• Reichert twice voted against forcing Trump to show Congress his tax returns (once in committee and once in a roll call vote), which may illuminate conflicts of interest and business ties with Russia.
• Reichert was the only Washington Republican who voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics.
• In 2014, he proposed a bill that would ban welfare recipients from using benefits to buy weed, despite the fact that such purchases were already illegal.
• In 2010, he voted to maintain “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
• That same year, Reichert suffered significant brain trauma when a tree branch fell on his head. The resulting hand-sized blood clot that formed in his brain went untreated for two months.
• In their 2006