On Feb. 27, the Club for Growth, a group of economic conservatives, announced that it is encouraging primary challenges against House Republicans who fail to meet its standards. Most of the members it has in mind have voted for Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which if enacted would be a more sweeping reform of the welfare state than the last three Republican presidents put together have accomplished. Many of the representatives were docked points, however, because they failed to also vote for a different, even more conservative budget that stood even less chance of becoming law.
The president of the club, Chris Chocola, might not have passed his group’s tests when he was in Congress. (He took over the club after losing a House seat in Indiana.) Chocola voted for an expansion of Medicare that makes the spending sins of all his current targets look trivial.
More important, it’s hard to see what policy outcomes would be different if every one of the people on the hit list had voted exactly as the club had urged over the past four years.