Naughty or nice: Club For Growth releases 2010 vote scorecard

Club For Growth, a pro-free market group with a history of targeting Republicans who stray too far to the left, released its 2010 voting scorecard Thursday, highlighting how lawmakers voted on a series of key measures over the last year.

The scorecard is good news for stalwarts like Sen. Jim Demint, South Carolina Republican, one of two Senators to vote “pro-growth” 100 percent of the time, according to the group (GOP Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma was the other).

And while there’s plenty of liberals from states like California, Massachussets and New York who scored a lowly 0 percent – and don’t care – the report could sting for some moderate Republicans in solid red districts or conservative Democrats trying to show their independence from President Obama and their party.

For instance, Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, who faces reelection in 2012, scored a 49 percent, the lowest of the low for Senate Republicans.

Snowe voted for the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, against reinstating vouchers in D.C. schools, and against permanently repealing the Estate Tax, or “death tax,” among other foibles – from a right wing perspective, at least.

Rep. Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania Republican, is one lawmaker who might wince at the scorecard. He scored a 61 percent, the fifth worst among House Republicans. His district, near Pittsburgh, is ranked a R+6 by the Cook Political Report; Sen. John McCain beat Obama there 55-45 percent.

The Club for Growth hit Murphy for votes on extending unemployment benefits and a bill regarding trade with China.

One of the most interesting ways to look at how lawmakers voted is comparing their scores in 2010 with how they’ve voted over the course of their careers.

In the House and Senate, six lawmakers swung by over 30 percentage points in the conservative direction in 2010 compared to their lifetime scores by the Club for Growth.

Included in the list is Rep. Dave Reichart, Washington Republican (36 percent swing), Rep. Candice Miller, Michigan Republican (34 percent swing), Rep. Peter King, New York Republican (33 percent swing), Rep. Mary Bono Mack, California Republican (32 percent swing), Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican and new chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee (31 percent swing), and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey Republican (31 percent swing).

Among Senate Republicans, Sens. Snowe and Orrin Hatch or Utah had the biggest swings in the conservative direction, changing by 23 percent each. Both could face primary challengers. Hatch changed from 74 percent lifetime score to 97 percent in 2010.

Former Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi was the Democrat with the biggest swing to the right (24 percent), but one that ultimately proved fruitless in avoiding defeat at the polls in November.

On the other side, some lawmakers’ scores plummeted in 2010 as they swung to the left.

Former Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania took his 32 percent lifetime score all the way to zero, for instance, but he also switched parties.

The Republican with the biggest drop in scores was Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, who dropped 9 points from 84 percent lifetime score to 75 percent in 2010. His chief fault, according to the scorecard, was voting for a protectionist trade bill regarding China.

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  • NuncLibertas

    The Club for Growth does not sound like it should be an authority on ranking who votes more for free market friendly bills.

    Case in point:

    Though Ron Paul might be crazy old and senile, and I am not one who believes he should be president, he is uncompromisingly devoted to free market principles from both a philosophical and economics perspective and he barely received a 90% score.

    The free market is basically the only thing Paul talks about and over 50 Republican members of the house and 15 Republican members of the senate scored better than him. What a crock!!!!!!

    It looks as though Club for Growth blurs the difference between corporatism and capitalism.

    As a capitalist I understand the importance of private sector growth. But voting for business subsidies and tax breaks for certain companies is just as much government social engineering as funding planned parenthood. That is not what it means to be a free-market capitalist, that is what it means to be a corporatist.

    • krjohnson

      I think to some extent you’re right, it does blur the line a little bit between corporatism and capitalism, but I think another reason why you see Ron not in the 97-100% range is because he tends to be VERY ideological. He doesn’t even like taking baby steps, it’s all or nothing. For example, he voted against NAFTA not because he doesn’t like free trade but because NAFTA wasn’t free trade enough for him. He votes against all the budgets pretty much no mater what, and there are a lot of other examples.

  • sanddog

    Glad to see my NM lawmakers yet again reaching the great heights of 0%.

    • glassmaker

      Look at the bright side, no where to go but up!!

  • 24AheadDotCom

    The head (CChocola) of the CFG’s choice for prez was someone who had his own amnesty plan (MPence).

    The CFG is from the “good for business” wing of the GOP. Cultural conservatism, preventing the far-left from getting more power (through mass immig.), and reducing deindustrialization aren’t on their radar. To them, the only thing that matters is a small number of people making a large amount of money.

  • flips
    • krjohnson

      That scorecard is absurd. My Representative, Doc Hastings, has done more to get the government to clean up it’s nuclear waste at Hanford than anyone in history. He’s probably done more good for the environment overall than any Representative in the country as founder of the nuclear waste cleanup caucus. And yet he gets a lousy 10% in that scorecard. And a ZERO percent for half the time he’s spent in congress. Probably because he voted against windmill subsidies or some such nonsense.

    • glassmaker

      Good grief. A scorecard from John Podesta and the Soros funded group. Ratings are based on who brings home the most pork for the greenies. They don’t give two poops about the environment.

  • Joe Steel

    Near as I can tell this score is like golf, the lower the better.

    • ojfl

      Funny you should choose a sport associated with the elites Joe.

      • Satchmo

        Golf isn’t an elite sport.

  • Dakota54

    Well…at least we have our work cut out for us. Let the cleansing begin.

  • GeniousIQ

    Snowe voted for the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, against reinstating vouchers in D.C. schools, and against permanently repealing the Estate Tax, or “death tax,” among other foibles – from a right wing perspective, at least.


    My only issue there is that the Dodd-Frank bill didn’t go far enough.