Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Reason For Tea Party November Enthusiasm - Ligies

No matter what happens on November 2nd, 2010 will be year for that conservatives won. Patriotic conservatives of all flavors, have risen up in extraordinary ways, in every corner of the country. It appears all but certain that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be dethroned. Dick Morris even predicts as many as 100 new Republican Congressmen giving many people really high expectations for the new Congress. Others fear that for all their trouble from organizing to holding rallies to knocking on doors, they will only replace the leftist Democrats with RINO Republicans who will squander the victory. Will we get Speaker Boehner, or a fresh new conservative leader who will truly take a big stick to big government. A closer look at the numbers should give conservatives reason to be really excited and also a cause for continued resolve.

If you want a conservative Congress, you have to ask yourself just what kind of conservative are you after. Drew Kurlowski, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Missouri who studies voting behavior and partisanship, referred me to a dataset popular with political science academics called DW-Nominate. It is a tremendous resource that meticulously compiles the voting records of the Congress going back to the1st Congress. If you want to know who George Washington’s favorite conservative was, this is your site. Moreover, they settled on a definition of “conservative” that is tremendously useful. Move over “fiscal conservative” and “social conservative” and make room for (limited) "government intervention in the economy”. Let’s call it L’GIE. So who are the ligies?

That most potent army of political groupies has one more reason to crow about Congressman Ron Paul. He sets the bar as champion of limited government. No one is close. For the rest of the nation, imagine what a force his son, Senate candidate Rand Paul will be in the Senate. "Senator Paul" is just the beginning.

By sorting the Senate in order of most conservative to least, it is no surprise that the fiscal champion, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma gets the award. Conservative darling, Jim DeMint is close behind. Which one of them will run from President? Hint: I asked Coburn’s office already, someone needs to call DeMint.

Another trend is fun to see but stands as no great surprise. The sisters from Maine, Senators Snowe and Collins compete for dead last among Republicans but still destroy every single Democrat.

Here is where it gets fun for conservatives. There are five Republican House members making strong bids for the Senate. None of them ranks lower than the Senator being challenged. In Missouri, Roy Blunt is running extremely hard and looks almost a shoe in to replace Kit Bond. Bond ranks a surprisingly low 35 out of 40 on the conservative scale. By contrast, Roy Blunt would join the Senate as the 6th most conservative on the L’IGGE scale. Illinoisans may finally be so fed up with infamous Chicago Democrat corruption that they will elect Republican Congressman Mark Kirk. While the Illinois Tea Party activists preferred Patrick Hughes, it may be a nice consolation prize to hear that Mark Kirk at 23, is eight points to the right of Bond. It is important to note, that Kirk is pro-choice while Bond is pro-life. Also, because the House and Senate members do not take the identical votes, comparisons are imperfect yet illustrative.

This data will surprise a lot of patriotic Tea Party activists who are disappointed by Mssrs Blunt and Kirk for support for the high profile TARP and “cash for clunkers” votes. High profile votes however, often overshadow the facts in balance. According to Kurlowski, “I think it is a fair assessment to say that Blunt has compiled a more conservative record in the House, than Bond has in the Senate. The DW-Nominate scores show it, and ideological rankings from major interest groups on both sides of the aisle confirm the data.” The same surprisingly, applies to Kirk. So the Illinoisans who suffered under liberals Durbin (10th), Burris (97th) and Obama, for many years left casting an occasional jealous gaze across the Mighty Mississippi River upon Missourians who enjoyed 18 years of Kit Bond’s leadership, now have the opportunity to install a centrist technically more conservative than Bond! Happy Day!

All told, taking the House and vastly improving the Senate, conservatives have a lot to be excited about. The next vote will be for a Republican Speaker, and quite possibly, Republican Senate Majority Leader. The next task for patriots is to challenge their delegates to vote for conservative leadership. You rose up and elected them, now tell them what you want.

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