As many organizations do from all across the political spectrum, the American Conservative Union recently came out with their ratings for members of Congress, 2005 being the 35th edition of the ratings system. What they do is grade out each member of Congress regarding their position on issues near and dear to the ACU’s heart. Ratings shown this year indicate the 2005 rating and the House or Senate member’s lifetime rating.
There’s two groups that rank among the Republican party extremes, as it were. One is a band of conservatives called the Republican Study Committee, best known for proposing necessary budget cuts.The other is a group of so-called moderates, the Republican Main Street Partnership. Numbered among them is our own Congressman Wayne Gilchrest and Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware, as well as Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich.
Taking a look at the ACU numbers, there’s a mile-wide disparity between the two groups. If you look at the lifetime ratings of all the House members, you’ll find the following is true:
Of the Republicans who have an ACU lifetime rating of 96 or higher, 45 of the 48 belong to the Republican Study Committee, including all of those with a 100 lifetime rating. Rep. Mike Pence (IN-6), who heads the Study Committee, is also considered the “leader” of the pack with a 100 rating, he’s been perfect for five years.
Of the lowest 50 Republicans in ACU lifetime ratings, 34 of them belong to the Main Street Partnership. That may be explained by the fact that 33 of the 49 House members of the MSP come from “blue” states in 2004, plus there are several others from the electorally close state of Ohio. Some of these members even fall behind the highest-ranking Democrats in the ACU ratings.
Here’s an illustration of what I think is wrong with the Main Street Partnership.
Top 10 Democrats, ACU lifetime ratings
1. Taylor (MS-4) 68
2. Boren (OK-2) 64
3. Davis (TN-4) 62
4. Melancon (LA-3) 61
5. McIntyre (NC-7) 53
6. Cuellar (TX-28) 52
7. Cramer (AL-5) 49
8. Herseth (SD) 49
9. Skelton (MO-4) 49
10. Peterson (MN-7) 46
And dead last in the listings…Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-NY1) has a 1 lifetime rating.
As you can see, there are still a few of the old-line conservative Democrats left, mostly from the South, and all but one from a “red” state. They’ll certainly vote the party line on their leadership and such, but often side with the conservatives on issues. And it’s a good thing, because the conservative leadership needs these votes to supplant the likely “no” votes from:
Bottom 10 Republicans, ACU lifetime ratings
10. (tie) Smith (NJ-4) 62
10. (tie) Gilchrest (MD-1) 62
9. Kirk (IL-10) 61
8. Fitzpatrick (PA-8) 60
7. Schwarz (MI-7) 58
6. Castle (DE) 57
5. Simmons (CT-2) 54
3. (tie) Johnson (CT-5) 47
3. (tie) Shays (CT-4) 47
2. Leach (IA-2) 43
1. Boehlert (NY-24) 40
And you wonder why I’ve ragged on Congressman Gilchrest so much? Now you might have an idea. By the way, for my friends down on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, your Congresswoman Theresa Drake (VA-2) has a solid lifetime score of 92. You should be proud of her.
Oh, just for funsies, I looked up our six local Delmarva Senators as well. In order of ACU ranking:
Sen. George Allen (R-VA) 92
Sen. John Warner (R-VA) 81
Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) 16
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) 14
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) 7
Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) 5
Top ACU Senator is Jeff Sessions of Alabama with a 98 rating, the bottom of the (whiskey?) barrel is Ted Kennedy with his measly rating of 3.
Now you may just say that I’m in lockstep with the conservative movement and you are probably right. But for part two of this post (probably over the weekend) I’m going to take the time and state my positions on the very votes the ACU used for their ratings…in other words, my own ACU rating which you can compare and contrast to your favorite Congressman. In glancing at the issues, I don’t think I’m going to end up as a perfect 100 – you might be surprised.
By the way, this is a milestone post for monoblogue. This one puts me at the century mark, post number 100. Since today is (barely) April 26th, it took me 147 days to get to 100 posts. That’s a lot of writing, because unlike other sites I write quite a bit on a subject. I’d have to guess that at least one week in real time has been devoted to writing these entries.
Since I just celebrated my one-year blogging anniversary at the start of the month, I’ll not pat myself on the back too much. But I do have several good posts that are in the pipeline and some may shake up the local blogging scene. Or maybe not, but they should be interesting to local readers.