by Brendan Monaghan
Should Wu resign, the short-term quality of representation in Oregon’s first congressional district will not be affected. The district has, for all intents and purposes, been vacant since 1999 anyway.
What have you learned in the last two months, voters in Oregon’s first congressional district? When word got out that high-ranking staffers fled (some without job prospects), The Oregonian and other local media wondered aloud why seasoned political veterans would rather be unemployed than work for recently re-elected Congressman David Wu. After some post-election investigating – showing him losing his temper at a Democrat fundraiser, using his position to breach security at PDX and campaign at the airport gates, and (apparently) dressing in a tiger costume – the reason became clear.
Congressman David Wu was stark-raving mad.
The same David Wu who complained about faux Klingons in the White House on the House floor. “But unlike the real Klingons of Star Trek,” (REAL Klingons!) “these Klingons have never fought a battle of their own.” This is also the same David Wu who couldn’t answer KGW anchor Laurel Porter’s softball interview questions (her finishing Wu’s response to illegal immigration should have been especially embarrassing).
The same David Wu who said he was sorry for a sexual assault he committed while at Stanford, when the story broke in 2004. To be clear, no charges were filed, which basically makes Wu the Ben Roethlisberger of United States Congressmen. Also, the same David Wu who admitted to accepting oxycodone from a campaign donor last fall (no charges or investigation is pending, as Wu is not currently a conservative radio host).
But let’s put aside his personal issues, gaffes, and sort-of legal troubles for now. After all, members of Congress should ultimately be judged by what they actually do in Congress, and how they service and represent their constituents. Wu has represented the west side of the Portland metro area since 1999, and has assembled a considerable legislative body of work along the way. So, in the interests of fairness and equal time, let’s catalogue each of Congressman David Wu’s legislative accomplishments in his twelve years in the House of Representatives.
Right. Moving along . . .
As local media have admitted, even leading up to the 2010 elections, David Wu has never gained much influence or recognition from his fellow members. Ranked 340th out of 435 in congressional clout, routinely passed over by his own party for important committee assignments, and the only backbencher with ten-plus years experience referred to by his colleagues as “hey you . . .” His service in Congress has, in fact, been a great disservice to the people of his district, who must be represented by a member who does little more than take up space. Like Tom Hanks’ character in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” his greatest accomplishment in Congress is getting re-elected six times (at least Tom Hanks’ character eventually helped win the Cold War).
In light of this new information, however, ask yourself this very important question: does it change anything? How many of you living in Oregon’s first congressional district reading this today would have changed your vote if you knew in October or November what you know now? Sadly, this new information would not have changed the outcome of November’s election. Far from it, the 55% of voters in Oregon’s first congressional district knew what they were getting by filling in the oval for David Wu. It also doesn’t help that the district is rated by polling guru Charlie Cook as eight points more Democratic than the national average. Therefore, the only way Wu could have lost is if Democrat voters (already confused enough to vote for Wu) were somehow confused in to thinking the election was on Wednesday.
Should Wu resign, the short-term quality of representation in Oregon’s first congressional district will not be affected. The district has, for all intents and purposes, been vacant since 1999 anyway. You would also figure that, in the event of a special election, any Democrat (including those whose names rhyme with “Gilles Noldschmidt”) would be heavily favored to keep the district, as they have since the Watergate Wipeout of 1974. The old saying goes that every district has the congressman they deserve. Nowhere is that more true and more prominently on display than on Portland, Oregon’s left side.
Brendan is a graduate student at Portland State Universty, where he hosts the KPSU “Right Jab” radio program. Brendan is studying politcal science, and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2007, with a degree in political science.
Editor’s Note: Brendan’s editorial got picked up by Newsy.com, check it out!