Nine incoming House Democrats assume place in pecking order: the end
By David A. Fahrenthold Washington Post Monday, January 3, 2011
They call themselves "the Mighty Nine."
Which is half true - there are, in fact, nine of them.
But "mighty" is definitely the wrong word for the nine lonely Democrats who will be sworn in as House members on Wednesday. They defied last fall's Republican landslide - winning mainly in strong Democratic districts - to become the smallest freshman class either party has put forth since at least 1915.
They include former statehouse leaders, a lieutenant governor, a big-city mayor. Now, at the high point of their careers, they must adjust to life as Capitol Hill's lowest of the low.
"We're people that are, you know, used to rolling up our sleeves and getting things done. I suspect we'll find it frustrating when we don't have the position in the Congress to do that," said John Carney (Del.), 54, a former two-term lieutenant governor who won an open congressional seat. "I don't think it'll deter us from working any harder."
History, however, is not encouraging.
Former representative Mike Ward (Ky.) came to Congress under similar circumstances in 1995, as one of 13 Democrats elected during the major 1994 Republican victory. He said his class quickly learned that Congress has a pecking order - and that they came at the end of it. The only way up was to wait. And wait. And wait.
"The Congress is the most futile place in the world, and the most discouraging, and the most depressing" for people in this position, he said.