Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers: Biography of Partisan Success at Expense of the Working Class
. McMorris Rodgers is a rigid conservative and highly partisan . . . [and] isn’t willing to compromise on major national issues —Editorial Board, Walla Walla Union Bulletin.
There can be no doubt that Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R-Wash] has been quite successful in Washington D.C. at congressional partisan politics. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ biography is of a person rapidly rising in the Republican ranks and building her resume as a career politician within her party establishment. She is now the fourth ranking Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
That is impressive. However, it leaves us with some questions. How did she do this after being in national politics for only eight years?
To many, she appears quite ordinary and unimpressive in her general demeanor. Likewise, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R-Wash] boasts few legislative achievements from being in the U.S. Congress since 2005. To understand her success, we need to realize that quick advancement in the Republican Party means that you spend most of your time at Washington D.C. cocktail parties, schmoozing with lobbyist and courting their money, and helping other Republicans get elected.
She chose to pursue the path of becoming a party insider. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R-Wash] has spent her time on building her own power and position within the Republican Party instead of passing legislation to help her constituents. In sum, that is her biography.
A Partisan Political Career
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers was born in Salem, Oregon. In 1969 she moved with her family to Colville WA, where they purchased a nearby orchard. She had some college, but little experience in the private sector other than selling fruit as a teenager.
Then, in the early 1990s, McMorris Rodgers became an aid to Republican Representative Bob Morton in the Washington State House of Representatives. (see WikiPedia). By her mid twenties, she was already on track to become a career politician, and has never looked back at doing anything else.
In 1994, McMorris Rodgers’ biography gets more interesting. In that year, Bob Morton decided to run for the Washington State Senate. Cathy McMorris Rodgers ran for his seat in the Washington State House of Representatives. McMorris Rodgers won this race in the 7th Legislative District, which includes parts or all of Ferry, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane and Stevens Counties. She was re-elected four times as an incumbent and served in that office through January 2005. From 2002-2003, she served as House Minority Leader, the top partisan post for the Republicans in the Washington State House of Representatives (see WikiPedia).
Of course, in 2004, McMorris Rodgers was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the 5th Congressional District representing the cities of Spokane, Pullman, Walla Walla, Clarkston, Washington, and others in Eastern Washington to round out of biography.
Voting Record: McMorris Rodgers and Republican Partisanship in Congress
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers hardly missed a beat as she continued to climb the political ladder after being elected to Congress in 2004. McMorris Rodgers immediately joined task forces and commissions within the D.C establishment and Republican hierarchy. In 2008 Rep. McMorris Rodgers became the Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference for the 111th Congress and thus became the fourth highest-ranking Republican in the House (see WikiPedia).
In doing so, Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ voting record ranks as one of he most conservative in Washington D.C. She has helped plot the on-going Wall Street takeover, undermining of Medicare, and corporate control of America with House Majority leader John Boehner, Minority Whip Eric Cantor, and Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence.
McMorris helped do the same with the sequester, which forced automatic cuts to vital services and “slashed $86 million from family planning and reproductive health care for poor women.” McMorris Rodgers has seldom wavered from the Republican Party line, include her vote for the Paul Ryan budget to destroy Medicare. She voted with the Republican leadership 97% of the time in the 111th congress while casting 1654 votes. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ voting record is so conservative that the American Conservative Union scored her as voting with them 96% percent of the time. Also, the Club for Growth scored her as voting for them 94% of the time, Family Research Council 100% of the time, the National Taxpayers Union 89% of the time, and the National Chamber of Commerce 100% of the time (see WikiPedia).
She has also been exceptional anti-worker. She has routinely opposed legislation to provide fair pay and better benefits for the average American in the workplace and to make it harder for labor unions to form and advocate for improvements in the workplace. If the legislation supported by McMorris had already been law this last century, it is hard to imagine that labor could ever be successful at holding employers accountable to the public interest, such as safer conditions for patients in hospitals.
McMorris Rodgers: A Fair, but not Exceptional Speaker
When speaking in public, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R-Wash] at times seems uncertain of her comments in her official capacity as a Congresswoman. Her almost Sarah Palin-style superficial and rambling comments have been frequent. That was particularly the case at her 2011 town hall meeting in Spokane. However, her speaking ability does seem to have improved over the years.
McMorris Rodgers: No Great Leader in Public
When she was chairwoman of the committee to improve the Environmental Protection Agency, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers began chairing the committee hearing in Spokane. Some of those attendance remarked that “she seemed really uncomfortable with leading the procedures” that another member of the committee took over about half way through. We all have bad days. Maybe this was one of hers.
No Major Policy Accomplishments by McMorris Rodgers
Her 2012 campaign website listed no major policy achievements for voters in Eastern Washington despite being in Congress for eight years and neither does Cathy McMorris Rodgers updated site. Her official House website and her entry in Wikipedia do not list any policy achievements either (as of the date of this article, Monday, July 15, 2012). However, she does claim a few political accomplishments on her House website (also as of the date of this article, Monday, July 15, 2012). She was successful at improving “House Republicans’ online influence and engagement.” She states, “the results speak for themselves.”
“In January 2009, only 30 percent of House Republicans were on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.”
“Today, more than 90 percent of House Republicans are on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.”
Really Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers? Twitter? Our country is facing a health care crisis, joblessness, and the worst recession in over a half a century, and you made it a priority to increase the number of Republicans on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Wow. Thank you Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Why has Cathy McMorris Rodgers been so Successful in the U.S. House of Representatives?
This is an interesting question. She does have talent. It would be hard to argue otherwise. It helps to understand that partisan elected officials can choose different paths. Some politicians focus their time on meeting with constituents and writing and passing legislation to help those constituents. These are the statesmen who are dedicated to finding solutions to society’s problems. However, some politicians choose the other path of becoming a party insider and spending most of their time pursuing power and position within their party.
Instead of spending time in her home district she has been traveling around the country raising money for other Republicans. Congresswoman. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the perfect example. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is a party insider, and is quite good at playing all the familiar insider games. For example, she:
- Raises millions of dollars every election cycle for herself and others from special interests,
- Knows how to follow the orders of her special interest donors and has a near perfect conservative voting record,
- Has recruited Republic political operatives like David Condon and Jaime Herrera Beutler into her service and then to run for office.
Absent from Eastern Washington
McMorris Rogers made more trips to New York and in North Carolina raising money for other Republicans than she did back to Eastern Washington for public appearances with her constituents. She also made trips to New Hampshire, Ohio, Indiana, Las Vegas, Florida, Colorado, and California. (Note: The correct spelling of her name is Cathy McMorris Rodgers, not Kathy McMorris Rodgers, Cathy MacMorris Rodgers, Cathy Morris, nor Cathy McMorriss Rodgers).