The American Conservative Union has released its report on Congress for 2007, and John McCain will welcome the results. Despite missing a number of votes while campaigning for President, McCain voted often enough to win a rating of 80, a significant improvement over the 65 he got in 2006. That approximates his lifetime rating of 82.16 and gives McCain a little more ammunition for his argument to represent conservative values. ACU chair David Keene notes that Congress overall went in the opposite direction:
ACU Chairman David A. Keene said it is not surprising that the 2006 election has resulted in Congress taking a sharp leftward turn.
“Elections have consequences and the election of 2006 was no exception,” Keene said. “The overall average score of the House of Representatives fell from 53.1 percent conservative in 2006 to 42.91 percent in 2007 while in the Senate the average score in 2007 was 42.67 percent conservative compared to 49.5 percent in 2006.”
Keene noted that, under the Democrats, the House became more polarized with 62 members, all Republicans, earning a perfect 100 conservative rating up from only 8 in 2006, while those earning a perfect liberal score of “0” numbered a record 138.
Voting patterns in the Senate were more stable but still showed a move to the left. The number of Senators scoring a liberal rating of 20 percent or less rose from 40 in 2006 to 48 in 2007. Five GOP senators scored a perfect 100 percent conservative rating, the same as 2006, although the number of Senators scoring a perfect rating of “0” rose from 7 in 2006 to 21 in 2007.
The ACU looks at 25 votes in 2007 to generate their ratings. McCain missed all but ten of those votes, agreeing with the ACU on eight of them. One notable disagreement came unsurprisingly on the immigration reform package, while the other came on a stem-cell research bill that mandated the use of federal funds for research on surplus embryos at in-vitro fertilization clinics. Bush vetoed the bill, sitting with the so-called snowflake children whose embryos were “adopted” rather than dissected.
McCain supported the ACU position on the following bills:
- Earmark disclosure
- Protection for grassroots lobbying organizations
- Extension of Bush tax cuts
- Repeal of AMT
- Repeal of death tax
- Card-check, which eliminates secret ballots for union organizing
- Social Security benefits for illegal aliens
- DC Congressional seat
Otherwise, though, McCain scores at the average for the Republican caucus in the Senate:
The House Republican caucus actually scored somewhat higher, averaging 85.7 points, about five more than their colleagues in the upper chamber. Overall scores for the House and Senate are almost identical at just below 43, and the Democrats score equally poor in both surveys as well, just below 6.
How did Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton score with the ACU? Barack Obama actually scored marginally higher than his caucus at a 7, having supported the ACU on earmark disclosure alone. Hillary gets a big, fat zero for 2007, after getting a whopping eight in 2006, as did Obama.
For those who see no difference between McCain and the two Democrats, this serves as a reminder that while McCain drifts to the middle on some issues, a large chasm exists between the nominees that will face off in November.