Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tweedle-Dem and Tweedle-Repub?

In 1984 Charley Reese wrote a column in the Orlando Sentinel about congress that is still being shared around the internet. And with good reason for it is as true today –in some ways, more so!—than it was then.

545 people are responsible for the mess, but they unite in a common con It begins, “Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.” Charley makes the point that we citizens “…don’t propose the federal budget –the president does. We don’t vote on appropriations –congress does. We don’t write the tax code –congress does. If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red... Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party….”

 Recently I received a fund-raising appeal from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-WV) on behalf of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) because McConnell says we need to keep the Senate in “conservative” hands. Excuse me, words have meanings and conservative does NOT fit Sen. Kirk. The truly conservative Heritage Action Scorecard rates Kirk down with liberal Democrats at 27% --only Republicans Sen. Collins (R-ME) and Rep. Dold (R-IL) are slightly more liberal at 18% and 22%, respectively. Sen Kirk votes against economic growth issues most of the time as computed by the Club for Growth.

 The point of this Poster is that altho Republicans as a group are far more likely to vote for lower spending (NTU), less waste (CAGW), more economic growth and individual freedom, there are far too many career Repubs for whom attracting campaign contributions for getting reelected is more important.

 The difference between the parties is stark. The Heritage Action Scorecard provides a breakdown by party. The average House Repub scores 75% vs House Dems 6%; In the Senate the Repubs average is 74% while the Dems average is 3%. However, individual Repubs at the lower end of the ratings are very similar to Dems in voting for uncontrolled spending and regulating and for more federal government control over every aspect of our lives. To them, the debt they’re piling onto our children is of no concern. Among conservatives and libertarians in the party they’re known as RINOs –Repubs In Name Only.

 We’ll highlight a few of the worst below. Just over 150 –all Repubs— rate 80% or better; 98 scored 0% --all Dems; the 263 under 40% included 15 Repubs. We’re continuing to use the Heritage Action Scorecard because it covers more votes and breaks them down for us and is an almost exact opposite of liberal/progressive scorecards. A liberal/progressive reading this can be proud of Sen. Nelson (D-FL) at 0% while a conservative/libertarian would know that he is in favor of Big Government and all that implies. It is an accurate, useful tool.

   Among the Repubs with scores reflecting big spending, taxing and wastefulness, in addition to Sen Kirk, and who have been there more than 8 years:

  Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) at 18% is, for all practical purposes, a Dem as she votes with them most of the time. See her Poster of a few years ago: When Perfect Attendance is Costly . We should update her poster but not much has changed except that the $14.7 trillion debt is now closer to $19 trillion! And she did her share of running up that burden on our children –no mention of her having any children. She favors same-sex “marriage” and is avidly pro-abortion.

  Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV) is in her first term in the Senate replacing Dem Jay Rockefeller but her entire life has been immersed in politics. Her father was Governor Arch Moore; she spent two terms in the W. Virginia legislature and 7 terms in the U.S. House and now as U.S. Senator. In searching her record in the House I discovered the Madison Project which interestingly uses a combination of Heritage Action and Club for Growth scores to arrive at a Madison Performance Index (MPI). MP concludes that Shelley Capito has spent her time in Congress, “… amassing one of the most liberal voting records in Washington.” Since she has voted both socially and economically liberal, MP put her in their Hall of Shame.

  Six-term Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) is at 39%. Before being elected to congress in 2004 he was in the state legislature for 14 years –as with most of our Posters for term limits, he spent little time in the productive private sector. Not surprisingly, he’s not big on economic growth, either –latest Club for Growth rating is 37%.

 Two long term Florida Repubs with liberal voting records – Reps Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart –both at 39% current Heritage Action score qualifies them for mention here as RINOs. They will be the subject of our next in-depth poster so, for now, they’ll just get this mention. Note that the highest rated Dem on the conservative scorecard is Rep Henry Cuellar (D-TX) at 33% --lower than the lowest Repub.

  Bottom line: both Parties have put the country deeply in debt –and continue to do so. When getting reelected is Job #1, professional politicians will vote for what furthers that goal and only secondarily for what is constitutional and/or best for the country. Exceptions are too rare. Only congressional term limits can and will remove the incentives to continue the destructive tax-spend-elect system for tenure.

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