During his campaign last fall against a Democratic Socialist challenger, one argument from incumbent Seattle Congressman Adam Smith was that no matter what mood liberal voters might be in regarding the "Democratic establishment," they should send him back to Congress because if Democrats won control of the House, he would be sure to take the helm of the powerful Armed Services Committee.
Well, after all the ballots were counted Smith beat his challenger by more than 35 points, the Democrats won 40 seats nationally and took back the House, and today Smith officially became Chair of the House Armed Services Committee.
That puts a Seattle Democrat—or what Fox News might call a hard-core west coast liberal—in a position to exert power over everything from the war in Yemen to Trump's recent use of the military for a "politically motivated stunt" (Smith's words) along the US-Mexico border.
“This is an extremely challenging time for our country and the world," Smith said in a statement today after he became chair. "We are in dire need of oversight from Congress and principled, coherent thinking on U.S. national defense strategy."
He promised to "enhance military readiness, combat inefficiency and waste at DOD, advance green technology in defense and address the threat climate change poses to our national security, fight for an inclusive military, and move towards a responsible approach to nuclear weapons."
That's a lot, but as Smith himself has pointed out these are "challenging" times. He's also called the president's actions as Commander in Chief "dangerous" and in need of Congressional response.
He'll now have the power to put actions behind those words—and voters who were persuaded by Smith's argument that "having a strong progressive as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee would be enormously helpful" now have a chance to see whether that promise turns out to be true.