Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Question for Conservatives

Organized groups are now preparing to push GOP nominees hard right in 2012. Putting aside the question of whether that's a good strategy (that is, whether the risks of losing seats to Democrats is worth the upside of more conservative Republicans winning some seats, and pushing other incumbent Republicans to the right as they fear tough primaries), I have a different question today.

It's pretty clear that Olympia Snowe is a lot less conservative than most Congressional Republicans. It's a lot harder to tell whether Orrin Hatch and Dick Lugar are in fact less conservative than, say, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee. Different rhetoric, and different emphasis, perhaps, but it's not entirely clear to me that Hatch and Lugar are in fact less conservative. Here's my question: to what extent do you trust organized groups to correctly identify "real" conservative candidates?


  1. Luger's been in the senate for 33 years. These guys refuse to retire. Robert Byrd was a senator for over 50 years. Byrd had spent almost 20% of the time the U.S. has been a nation in the senate. He literally had to be wheeled onto the floor to vote in his last few votes. It's an embarrassement to anybody who believes in representative governemnt that we continue to allow these guys to have a monopoly on power often until they die.

    Voters have finally woken up and realized the leftward shift in policy this country has taken is never going to end if we keep electing the same people. And since Congress refuses to institute term limits, the people have to try to involuntarily term limit some of these guys who refuse to retire. And if that means we're going to run more Christine O'Donnells and Sharon Angles in primaries, who are less than perfect candidates, so be it.

    BTW, Luger has a lifetime ACU score of 77, but his score was 68 in 2009 and 63 in 2008 (2010 data not available). So the scores suggest his voting record is less conservative the past two year of available data than it has been over his entire career. The Tea Partyer's quote about Luger becoming less conservative appears to be substantiated by the ACU data. Compare Luger to his fellow hoosier in the House, Mike Pence, who has a lifetime ACU over 13 years of 99+. Michele Bachmann is a perfect 100.

    Luger's a moderate and Pence is a staunch conservative. I don't know where Ron Johnson will shake out, but I guarantee you Mike Lee's ACU ranking will be closer to Pence's than Luger's.

  2. Yep, Lugar is a moderate in today's GOP. Certainly not a Rockefeller Republican or a RINO. But a moderate in the sense that you can contemplate doing business with him on stuff like judicial nominations, education, fiscal policy, even some energy and climate. And of course he's what passes for a total wuss on foreign policy in GOP circles these years.

    But he'll go along without a squeak with whatever the leadership cooks up. He's just happy with the committee power he wields in return for acquiescing. So he's not a "swing hog" like the ladies from Maine.

    I wonder, however, if the recent nightmare of seeing most of his colleagues attack the New START so loudly and ignorantly might have him weighing his options going foward, assuming he gets re-elected.

  3. Anonymous @ 5:20: Using ACU or ADA scores are pretty inaccurate, as they compile scores based on select votes that are of particular concern to them, rather than all roll call votes, as Keith Poole's NOMINATE data does. There is some truth to the notion that Lugar has moderated slightly, but it is not quite as pronounced or sudden as the ACU data suggests. In the 94th Senate (1977) his DW NOMINATE score on the first dimension was 0.342; it has declined gradually over the years to 0.254 in the 111th Senate. As Poole documents here, this would have put him in the middle of the Republicans when he was first elected, perhaps even slightly on the right, but now he'd be in the moderately liberal wing. Even had he not moved slightly he would would be fairly moderate. So to the extent that he is now a "moderate" is due much more to the fact that the Republican median has shifted to the right than his own doing.

  4. "to what extent do you trust organized groups to correctly identify "real" conservative candidates? "

    None whatsoever.

    Use JD Heyworth as an example.
    "We are betteroff as conservatives to vote for the Democrats in races where a moderate is running than to vote for that RINO, because they dilute the brand and image of the party."

    When asked what defines a RINO he said "Someone whoc an not be counted on to vote the party line the way they are supposed to."

    Now I want you to look at those two statements.
    According to his own definition JD Heyworth is the BIGGEST RINO in the country!!!
    Because he is recommending for people at the only time THEY get to vote to *gasp* not vote the party line!

    One of the things I am working on locally is along these lines.
    I am confronting the local Tea Party and getting them aware that THEY need to define the movement.

    Either Clint Didier was correct to withhold Tea party support from Dino Rossi for not being "sufficiently" pro-life -- in which case the Tea Party movement is not about a return to a constitutionally minimalized federal government.
    The Tea Party would then actually be a hidden name for the Radical Right arch-conservatives.

    Basically a Republican version of the Progressives.
    A group that puts their philosophy ahead of the party. "I am a progressive before I am a Democrat" IS the definition of a DINO.
    Because it says the ONLY reason they are a democrat is they do not have the balls to start their own Progressive party.

    And if the Tea Party wants to be the Republican version of the same -- they need to admit it.
    If what they are IS what they originally started out to be, Constitutionally Minimalized FEDERAL ( as in a federation ) Government, they then need to tell people like Didier to shut up or get the hell out of the movement.

    First the Tea party movement needs to clarify what/who it wants to be.
    THENwe can have adiscussion about whether they are going to support Republican candidates regardless of whether they are *conservative enough* -- if so fine.
    If not, they need to have clarified for THEM that if they do not want moderate republican leaders they do not get moderate republican voters either.
    They do not vote for ours, we do not vote for theirs.

    And this second needs to be clarified THIS year.
    Because having this fight in 2012 is too late.
    THEN we will be in the middle of the most important "Give us the white house and 3 of the 23 senators and we will repeal then replace health care reform via the budget reconciliation technique".
    That is pretty much a sure winner( IMHO ).

    Fights between wings and party should be in the off year election.
    Tea Part vs. Moderate Republican
    Progressive vs. Blue Dog

    Those are fights for 2010/2014/2018 etc.

    Presidential elections the wings need to come together -- or else.
    Or else all out inter-party war, scorched earth and understanding you do not want the moderate ( blue dog) leaders?
    You do not get the voters who support them either.

    Jonathan -- think you hit a sore spot for me? :P


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