- The US House of Representatives is scheduled tomorrow to vote on the House’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Sammamish’s Congressional representative is Republican Dave Reichert, who has held his seat since 2005. He recently refused to hold Town Hall meetings with constituents because of the raucus reception other Republicans received over the prospect of repealing Obamacare.
Call it Dave Reichert’s “I am not a wimp” moment.
US Rep. Reichert, who represents the Sammamish area in Congress, frequently points to his 33 year career as King County Sheriff.
Aside from his signature achievement of helping identify and arrest the Green River serial killer, Reichert says he proved his bravery many times.
He uses this to explain why he won’t hold Town Hall meetings with constituents, especially these days when constituents are flooding Republican Town Hall Meetings to protest the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.
Reichert voted in committee to repeal the ACA.
His fallback to his sheriff’s days to boast of his bravery is reminiscent of President George H. W. Bush and his famous statement, “I am not a wimp,” when criticized over perceived timidity.
Bush, the 41st President, didn’t have to prove his bravery. At age 18, he was a pilot flying fighters off aircraft carriers in World War II. He was shot down over an open ocean, eventually rescued by a US submarine.
Bush’s “wimp” image emerged during this years as Vice President and President because this true gentleman didn’t believe in the go-for-the-jugular approach to politics that we are used to today. He famously, if in an ill-advised way, proclaimed, “I am not a wimp.”
Few police officers can be a street cop, detective and sheriff for 33 years without experiencing moments in which bravery comes into play.
However, Reichert was elected to Congress in 2004, taking his seat in January 2005–12 years ago. Continuing to tout his prior occupation is ancient history. The pertinent question is, how has he performed in Congress?
The answer is, not well.
Profile in Timidity
Reichert’s history in Congress has been that of “lead from behind,” a posture for which I have utter disdain.
Elected officials are, by definition, leaders. They should lead. As a sheriff, Reichert was a leader. Reichert’s history in Congress is that of a pliant follower.
To be sure, he’s been on the “right” side of many issues that are important to his 8th Congressional District and Washington State. He’s more of an environmentalist than your average Republican these days. He supported setting aside land in this State for preservation and public enjoyment, rather than development.
But on the ACA, Reichert has been a profile in timidity. For the longest time, he remained silent or ambiguous on the issue. He refused to hold town hall meetings on this or other issues.
Reichert protesters have taken to shadowing him at public events.
After The Seattle Times last week published an article about Recihert’s silence, he finally issued a statement defending the Republican bill replacing Obamacare. He backed off his pledge not to support a bill that would kick people off a health care system.
Following, not leading
Reichert says the current GOP bill is just the “first step” in replacing the ACA.
Good grief–the Republicans targeted the ACA ever since it was passed in the first year of President Obama’s two terms. Why didn’t they take the ensuing seven years to craft a repalcement, ready to go this year? Where was Reichert’s leadership?
The answer is, there wasn’t any. It’s Reichert the Follower, not Reichert the Leader.
Unfortunately, in the last redistricting, Reichert was given a safe Republican seat, as opposed to the potentially swing district he represented previously.
Reichert has no incentive to be a leader. He can just sit back, smile, make excuses and be the follower he’s been since he was elected.
He does a disservice to those he represents.
On the other hand, now that Reichert has no worries about reelection, he is in a position to take bold actions and lead, rather than follow.
Doing so would serve his constituents better than sitting back and relaxing.
“Follower” is a kind label for a man who is more like a reed that leans in whatever direction his leadership is blowing into…he has ensured his District has no voice at all in Congress by his willful silence on almost ANY issue or legislation, and appears not to care to engage with his own constituents unless they are hand-picked and ready to play softball with him. May have been an accomplished sheriff, but is wholly unqualified to be taking up space in Congress…which is about all he is doing at the moment.
I called his office last week and asked if he had a plan to cover the millions of people that will lose their health coverage if this goes through. His kind assistant informed me “he does not have an answer at this time.” Dave Reichert in a nutshell.
When voting this year on many of Trump’s initiatives, Reichert needs to remember that his job is on the line again come Nov. 2018 and that he is one of only a couple “red” members in very “blue” Washington state. In the 2016 election he won by only 65,000 votes. It could be VERY different in 2018, depending on how he votes.
Yes, especially with 84,000 of his constituents getting their insurance through the ACA, and most of those getting tax credits on the Eastern side of the hills…but it’s hard to tell if he really even gives a damn…
According to his office, as of 2:40 PM today, @davereichert is “undecided” on the AHCA and taking health insurance away from millions of people. Way to show a spine.
The House has had 7 years to come up with a viable option to the ACA only to have a full vote postponed today because there were not enough votes to pass and send to the Senate. What does that tell you about the sad state of affairs in DC? 7 years & still nothing ! How did they expect to pass a replacement bill in just 2 months?
Rest assured, they made the bill bad enough so [edited] the “freedom” caucus will get behind it now. Never mind that it throws millions of people into a healthcare crisis. It remains to be seen if our feckless congressman goes along with the extreme right in this vote or not. My guess is he does.
2 hours before the vote and Dave still has his finger in the air seeing which way the wind is blowing. “Officially Undecided” says his office staffer.
Looks like the repeal will fail. Will “I am not a wimp” Reichert follow the prevailing winds?
He remained “undecided” until the last possible minute before the bill was pulled without a vote. But it is noteworthy that he never showed up on ANYONE’S list of “undecided” legislators over the last week. In my opinion, he was ALWAYS a “blind yes”.
Reichert lucked out this time. He didn’t have to vote and show where his allegiances really stand.
Being silent, absent or “undecided” tells you everything you need to know about Reichert.
For laughs…. here is the email he just sent me:
Dear Mr. Blau,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding efforts to reform our nation’s health care system. Health care is a deeply personal issue, and I appreciate you taking the time to share your story with me.
My focus has always been to work together with all Members of Congress to create a patient-centered, high-quality health care system that offers more choices at an affordable price. This is the health care system Americans deserve. After considerable public debate, Congress could not come to a consensus that H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, achieved those goals.
I will continue encouraging my colleagues in both parties to come together, put aside their differences, and find solutions to our health care challenges that benefit all Americans.
Thank you again for contacting me. Your interest and input is valued and appreciated. I encourage you to continue to stay in touch with me as Congress works on reforming our health care system.
David G. Reichert
Member of Congress
I have no recollection of Dave working, commenting, or offering any solutions that meet those noble objectives.
In other words, Mr-I-was-a-policeman-for-33-years dodged that bullet.
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Would you mind telling me your name and where you live? I heard you are not a Sammamish resident.
See “About” https://sammamishcomment.wordpress.com/about/ and https://sammamishcomment.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/so-long-sammamish-sort-of/
Your ISP locates you in Montana. So what?
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