Soon to be Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, announced that she has selected Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) to take over the lead of the House Intelligence Committee.
There had been a strong debate between Democrats on who should get this post with the favorite ‘appearing’ to be Pelosi’s fellow Californian Rep. Jane Harman. The Florida representative Alcee Hastings was also in the running but he appeared to be too controversial even for Pelosy who, at times, thrives on controversy.
But who is Silvestre Reyes? According to the information collected on Reyes by OnTheIssues.org, Reyes is (bottom line) a “Moderate Liberal.” What that means is Reyes is not hard core on any particular group of issues but tends to believe in government responsibility rather than personal responsibility. (Just for comparison and analysis, Nancy Pelosi herself is rated by OnTheIssues as a “Hard-Core Liberal.”)
[NOTE: The Liberal and Conservative titles by themselves mean almost nothing in this 21st Century. For example, the classic definition of a “Conservative” includes being in favor of less government and more personal responsibility; among those who “call” themselves Conservative, there are very few serving in public office today who reflect those values in their actions. The ratings assigned by OnTheIssues, however, are arrived at by the legislator’s ability to ‘walk the walk,’ not on their ability to ‘talk the talk,’ i.e., a close scrutiny of the actual voting record of the legislator in question.]
Reyes is a Vietnam War Army veteran. After the Army, Reyes went to work as a Border Patrol Agent and rose through the ranks to become the Chief Patrol Agent of the El Paso Border Patrol Sector. Reyes left the Border Patrol to run for the House of Representatives during the 1996 elections and won his seat. He is apparently a popular representative in his home district, he was re-elected in this years election by a reportedly wide margin.
In general, Reyes seems to me to be a very conservative (if I dare use that term) choice for Nancy Pelosi which indicates that she is trying to move the party (and herself) away from its “far-Left” image.
Two things bother me about Reyes: First, and least important, is his very soft stance on immigration (just as soft as President Bush’s stance); unfortunately the Intelligence oversight function he will be leading up in the House has a significant overlap with our immigration policy. Secondly is the very fact that he’s a Democrat who leans to the left. The general disposition of those on the political left, at least as I see it, is to soften domestic security to the point where it is not keeping us secure; as head of the Intelligence Committee, Reyes has an opportunity and a challenge: the opportunity to “oversee” our domestic intelligence efforts to the point where they are ineffective and the challenge not to.
Associated Press on Topix.net: Pelosi Taps Reyes for Intelligence Post
Cheers and Jeers from the blogosphere:
Cheers from Later On: Pelosi gets it right
Jeers from Macsmind: Democrat intelligence committee schedule – “Forget Al Qaeda, watch Bush”
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