What a difference a year makes

A little less than a year ago, Erick was giving Rep. John Barrow a tough time about his Congress.org power rating. Well, what a difference a year makes. Barrow has shot up the charts from #430 to #91. Rep. Jim Marshall, Georgia’s most powerful Congressman according to this organization, now ranks at #45.
By comparison, Rep. Jack Kingston’s highest ranking (in 2006) was #42, even though he had been in the body for 12 years. Now, Georgia’s most junior Congressman, Democratic Hank Johnson outranks all Republicans, including Kingston, clocking in at #186 to Kingston’s #220. I’m glad to see three of Georgia’s Democratic Congressmen ranked in the top 100 members in the body this year (also a first) but what I’m most interested in is how Georgia’s overall influence in the House has skyrocketed.

The AJC’s Political Insider reported last year that Georgia ranked #49, ahead of only Arkansas and Puerto Rico, which may I remind you isn’t even a state. Now that Democrats are in charge, and thanks to our delegation, Georgia’s influence has jumped from #49 to #36. That’s not bad, if you ask me. It also kind of makes you wonder — were Republicans using Georgia for votes without giving us any real respect or power? Georgia has become one of the most reliable Republican states on the federal and state level the last few years, and all we got for that was a thank you and #49. Sounds like Georgians were getting a raw deal.

It’s a good thing voters in the 8th and 12th didn’t listen to Mac and Max, or they’d be stuck now with two #425 range turkeys instead of two of the most influential legislators in Congress. Congress.org has the complete rankings. Here is Georgia’s page.

19 comments

  1. JRM2016 says:

    The new rankings reflect the newly found majority status of the Democrats. To suggest that means anything else is disingenuous.

  2. bowersville says:

    I’d rather be a #425 range turkey than a #1 influence peddler in a Pelosi/Murtha congress.

    But that’s just me.

  3. JRM2016, why did a Republican dominated state go from being #49 when the GOP was in power to #36 when the Dems took over.

    Wouldn’t you have guessed the opposite would have happened, afterall we are not California or New York, we’re Georgia.

    And why do Georgia’s Democrats get more power and respect from national Dems than Georgia’s Republicans got from the national GOP?

  4. JRM2016 says:

    I don’t know where John Lewis is on the new list, but I imagine he has more seniority that any other current member of Georgia’s Congressional Delegation and to have the most senior member of the delegation go from being in the minority to the majority I would think would have a significant impact on the influence of the entire delegation. Also, I believe Marshall and perhaps Barrow as well are in the so-called “Blue Dog” coalition, which with the Democrats having to actually perform as a governing party requires them to vet everything through the Blue Dogs. So the flipping of Lewis from minority to majority plus two members of the now influential Blue Dog coalition equals the higher ranking. But that is entirely due to the fact the Dems are now in the majority, not because Barrow or Marshall are more politically adept than Burns or Collins.

  5. I understand why it happened, this is just one of those rare haha moments for Georgia Dems. We don’t get them that often!

    On a related note, I wonder why Linder never cracked the top #100 (only Kingston did). Perhaps the fact that he spent so much time touting and pushing a political nonstarter (the “Fair Tax”) and was repeatedly passed over for Rules Chair (perpetually next in line, if I recall).

  6. DMZDave says:

    Chris Hardcore is having fun here but I’m guessing that he probably knows about as much about how things really get done in Congress as the geek political scientists who came up with this naive scale. Last year, Saxby Chambliss was one of the most powerful and infuential senators because he was a full committee chairman but more importantly, his views were respected by his colleagues and therefore, behind closed doors, his views often prevailed. The same can be said for Isakson. You can’t graph political influence and the respect of your peers. My own experience is that most political scientists know little about science and even less about politics.

    Certainly there has been a shift in power in DC but Georgia did not gain influence with Democrats in control of the Congress and that should be intuitively obvious to even the lamest political observer.

    For his part, Jack Kingston is a senior appropriator. I believe that he may even be one of the most senior appropriators Georgia has had in the Congress in decades. The AJC and other Georgia media, also historically clueless about how the Congress actually works, has never recognized the importance of having a senior appropriator in the delegation or understood what it means for our state. When Kingston chaired the Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee, he had it in his power to help obtain the funding Atlanta needed to fix the sewers. Mayor Franklin didn’t have a clue so after asking him for his help, she went down and campaigned against a neighboring Republican incumbent in effect campaigning to take the chair away from Kingston who she had just asked to help Atlanta. Seriously, could you be more clueless? And when Kingston pointed that out, the AJC got all huffy and completely missed the obvious point, Franklin was working against the interests of her constituents to advance the interests of the national Democratic party – that was exactly why the voters fired Cleland.

    Even though he is in the minority now, as a senior appropriator, Kingston still has a lot of power. Appropriators tend to be less partisan when it comes to slicing the pie for each other. For that reason, Kingston and Sanford Bishop are two of the most powerful House members in the Georgia delegation regardless of where some clueless political scientists who have never been in a conference committee may place them in their very unscientific and politically naive rankings.

    As for the Senate, it doesn’t matter all that much that the Senate has switched because everyone recognizes it could easily flip back and minority senators have so many opportunities to make their voices heard. Both our senators have the respect of their peers and are skilled at political maneuvering, traits that I suspect are not fully accounted for in this ridiculous ranking.

  7. JRM2016 says:

    Not to be contrarian with everything you have to say, but the Fair Tax continues to gain momentum.

    In the 107th Congress, Fair Tax legislation had a handful of sponsors. In the 108th, the Fair Tax legislation gained 52 cosponsors, but only at the end of the two years that Congress was in session. In the 109th, 52 cosponsors were signed in the first 15 months. Now in the 110th Congress, where CW might say the Fair Tax is dead, 52 cosponsors were signed to the legislation by February 12, 2007. Congressman Linder’s dogged pursuit of real reform of our tax system is yielding steadily improving results, though it may be a few more years before he builds a majority in the House behind H.R. 25.

    FYI: Another thought about seniority in the delegation, of the GOP members, Westmoreland came in 2004, Gingrey came in 2002, Price came in 2004, Deal in 1992, Kingston in 1992, Linder in 1992

    Dems: Bishop-1992; Scott-2002; Lewis-1986; Johnson-2006 (though getting rid of McKinney probably also nets the delegation a HUGE increase in influence); Barrow-2004; Marshall-2002.

  8. Bull Moose says:

    These rankings mean nothing. I think what Chris was pointing out was that last year Erick made a big to do about the rankings so he was pointing out how one election can change everything…

    Power is fleeting in Washington. What you want to develop is prestige and respect. Those who focus on temporary power rarely build prestige and respect.

  9. I’m just having a little fun. Back when Republicans thought they’d be in charge forever, they tried to de-emphasize prestige and respect and replace it with strict discipline, majority of the majority, K street project, etc.

    We’ll see if the Democrats try and emulate that model, or return more to the older bipartisan days where the label behind your name was less important than the way you carried yourself and the head you had on your shoulders.

    Honestly, I hope its the latter. Extreme partisanship is no fun for the loser, and even less fun for the winner when they ultimately become the loser.

  10. Demonbeck says:

    DMZDave,

    Kingston never chaired the Energy and Water Subcommittee. All your other points are well presented and quite true.

    Kingston and Sanford Bishop (the state’s other appropriator) are easily the two most influential House members we have. Pass whatever legislation you want, authorize however much you want for your pet project – if it isn’t funded, it isn’t going to happen. If the Appropriators decide to create a pet project that isn’t authorized, they can authorize it and fund it in the same bill. No other committee has that power.

  11. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    “It also kind of makes you wonder — were Republicans using Georgia for votes without giving us any real respect or power? Georgia has become one of the most reliable Republican states on the federal and state level the last few years, and all we got for that was a thank you and #49. Sounds like Georgians were getting a raw deal.”

    Exactly how the Democrats have taken the Black vote for granted. Just goes to show you, neither party really gives a sh** about you or me, all they want is your vote.

  12. CHelf says:

    Could be an effort on the leadership’s part to help the image of the party in the South. What better way to try and win back support or at least soften the distrust than to give southern Democrats a greater voice. Also keep in mind military bases and agriculture are huge in the state. There is a greater incentive to move influence here and elsewhere in the south than anywhere else.

    As far as I see, this could go as far as, dare I say, pandering to help the party’s image as a whole? What other reason would you have to give so much influence in a state where the party structure is all but non-existent?

  13. DMZDave says:

    My bad, Demonbeck is right. How could I forget that Dave Hobson moved from Military Construction to chair Energy and Water. Kingston chaired Agriculture but as a Subcommittee Chair and as a “Cardinal”, he was still in a great position to help Atlanta and cardinals tend to listen to other cardinals.

  14. Demonbeck says:

    In his role as ranking member on Ag Approps, Kingston is still in a great position to help all of Georgia.

  15. Chathamguy says:

    “…I believe Marshall and perhaps Barrow as well are in the so-called “Blue Dog” coalition, which with the Democrats having to actually perform as a governing party requires them to vet everything through the Blue Dogs. So the flipping of Lewis from minority to majority plus two members of the now influential Blue Dog coalition equals the higher ranking. But that is entirely due to the fact the Dems are now in the majority, not because Barrow or Marshall are more politically adept than Burns or Collins. ”

    Actually the part about the Blue Dogs and the importance of independent and moderate Members of Congress is the only salient point to this whole thread. Collins was in the House for 12 years and Burns only two, but they both established themselves as reliable partyline votes. Burns even said at a debate that “independent equals ineffective”. The reason that Marshall and Barrow can influence their parties is precisely because party leaders know that they will do what they believe (correctly or incorrectly) is right, not what they are told to do and that their votes need to be earned and their voting record backs that up. Just check out National Journal’s ideological scores. Burns and Collins, on the other hand, had voting records that demonstrated that they were reliable votes for their party who would be their when party leaders needed their votes virtually regardless of the substance of the bill.

  16. Mad Dog says:

    Chris,

    Good start for a thread.

    I love watching the lame GOP stumbling over their own crap.

    Linder hasn’t got a clue beyond repeating, “Taxes are Unfair to Me … and my friends.”

    Chambliss can’t pass water.

    Half the GOP candidates who want to run in the 10th are afraid to run and will drop out.

    Nathan Deal couldn’t “Make a Deal” with the Duluth Madam with GOP leadership holding his hand.

    The Georgia GOP machine put followers into federal leadership positions and the voters got nothing.

    At least the ex-congressMEN get pensions.

    That will be real important to Chambliss with his trick knee. Not only will he be able to park in the Wal-Mart handicap spot, he’ll be driving a made in Europe Benz.

    MD

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