“The Conservative Index” rates congressmen based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, to fiscal responsibility, to national sovereignty, and to a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements. Preserving our Constitution, the freedoms it guarantees, and the moral bedrock on which it is based is what the word “conservatism” once meant — and how it is being applied here. ~The New American

Of course, when the gold standard is the excellent Rep. Ron Paul, we know how short most Congressmen will inevitably fall. The raft of issues The New American selected would tend to weight the results in favour of those opposed to “free trade” agreements and opposed to immigration, which makes sense, but which is bound to exaggerate slightly the general lack of conservatism in the GOP caucus. With all that being said, it was more than a little surprising, even to me, to see how pathetically most Republicans scored. It was also surprising how relatively well some others managed–Sen. Orrin Hatch, for example, someone who has never impressed me as being either conservative or very serious, rated 70%, which is one of the higher scores overall. The weakness of House members under the thumb of Mr. Hastert, probably because of party-line discipline on amnesty and “free trade,” was particularly noticeable: there were only 22 House members, including Rep. Paul, who scored above 67% (what we might call the Walter Jones cut-off). In contrast, 16 Senators scored as well or better than that mark, revealing a much higher proportion of the GOP Senate caucus to be more or less reliably conservative on these issues than is the case in the House.

Senatorial independence aside, electoral politics as they have been conventionally understood ought to preclude that from happening. House members should, theoretically, be representative of increasingly homogenous districts carved out by gerrymandering, whereas Senators should typically be more willing to ‘moderate’ their positions and should be less likely to hew to a conservative line than their House colleagues. According to these results, at least based on these sets of votes, that has not happened. The very security of House seats thanks to the creation of safe districts through gerrymandering has probably made House members less “representative” than ever as they come under more and more pressure to represent party interests or the party line than the interests of their constituents (for example, by rough count 104 Republicans in the House supported the “temporary residence” (amnesty) bill).

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