At a blog post yesterday, Judson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation took Rep. Charles Boustany (R-Lafayette) to task as a free-spending John Boehner lackey unworthy of re-election.
It wasn’t pretty.
Who is the worst GOP Congressman?
There are several who would be in the running for that title, including Speaker John Boehner. However, one who should be on that list, if not the winner is a Congressman from Louisiana, Charles Boustany.
Boustany has been a Congressman since 2005. By profession he is a Doctor. He is also tied into the Democratic Louisiana political structure because his wife is the niece of the former Louisiana Democratic Governor and convicted felon Edwin Edwards.
As a Republican in Congress his message has been simple. Let’s borrow more money and let’s spend more money. Four times during his tenure, he has voted to raise the debt ceiling.
Boustany’s votes in favor of Cash For Clunkers and the debt ceiling were also mentioned in the piece, which finished with an endorsement of Boustany’s opponent in the upcoming, Jeff Landry (assuming, of course, that Landry fulfills expectations and runs against him)…
Jeff Landry has been a real Tea Party hero on Capitol Hill. He was an insurgent candidate in 2010, defeating the former Speaker of the Louisiana House to become a Congressman. The establishment in Louisiana fought back and redistricted Landry into Boustany’s district and stripped away many of the areas that Landry had done well in back in 2010.
Landry is a great Congressman who is a member of the Tea Party Caucus and who is there for the right reasons. He was one of the Congressmen that held up the debt ceiling deal last year.
Boustany is a poster child for everything that is wrong with the Republican Party.
Now that Landry has been redistricted into Boustany’s district, the question is will Jeff Landry run against Boustany?
He has not said.
Let’s hope he decides to. We need more Tea Party Congressmen like Jeff Landry and fewer establishment clunker Congressmen like Charles Boustany.
It’s not exactly true that Landry was redistricted into Boustany’s seat in retaliation for a conservative voting record; Landry’s district went away because he was the “new guy” in the Louisiana delegation more than anything. But that narrative will surely return in the campaign; it sounds good. And given the friction which came out of the redistricting battle in which Boustany had several other members of the delegation irritated with him, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll hear the Lafayette heart surgeon portrayed as the K Street-sponsored establishment poodle who’s been taken care of in exchange for selling the country down the river.
By Landry’s camp, sure. But also by outside folks like Phillips.
It’s a story that works, but how true is it?
By any measure Landry looks more conservative from a fiscal and economic basis than Boustany. That said, the Landry-Boustany race will be fought over a relatively narrow ideological divide.
For example, the American Conservative Union scored Landry as a 96 in its ratings of last year’s Congress, while Boustany was an 83. Landry’s only negative vote from the ACU’s perspective was on an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill that would eliminate funding for the Advanced Manufacturing Loan Program and apply the funds saved to the federal deficit. Essentially, Landry’s vote – which was shared by all the rest of the state’s House delegation with the exception of Rep. John Fleming (R-Minden) – was in favor of subsidizing natural gas powered vehicles.
Boustany voted with Landry on that amendment, and ACU also didn’t like his vote against “a conservative alternative to the budget that would freeze total discretionary spending at 2008 levels beginning in 2013 and balanced the budget within ten years. The bill cut mandatory spending by $1.9 trillion over 10 years . The bill assumed the repeal of the Obama health care bill and a gradual increase in the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare.” Boustany and Rodney Alexander (R-Quitman) were the two Republicans in the state’s delegation getting negatives from the ACU on that vote.
And Boustany got dinged by the ACU for a vote against an “amendment to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill to eliminate the Foreign Agricultural Service. This agency uses taxpayer money to fund 98 offices around the world to help find export opportunities for large corporations.” Naturally, that’s a vote on behalf of the rice growers in the southwestern part of the state Boustany represents, and Alexander and Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge) joined Boustany on that one.
Boustany’s final hit courtesy of the ACU came out of his vote to increase the debt ceiling last year. Alexander and Cassidy were with him on that vote, while Landry, Fleming and Steve Scalise (R-Metairie) didn’t vote for the debt ceiling increase.
In the 21 other votes ACU scored, though, Boustany and Landry were on the same side.
Boustany’s 2010 ACU score was 100, which isn’t a big surprise since the GOP was in the minority that year and all the House Republicans were doing was voting against Nancy Pelosi’s legislation. His lifetime score from ACU is 91.
Another fiscally conservative scorer of Congressmen is the Club For Growth. There, a real spread between Landry and Boustany begins to emerge. Club For Growth rates Landry as a 94 for last year’s votes, ranking him No. 29 of the 435 House members. Boustany, on the other hand, only scores a 66, which is No. 132 on the list – and as a Republican he’d rate as below average. Boustany’s lifetime score, according to CFG, is a 68 – tying him with Alexander as the least conservative of the state’s House Republicans.
So while Phillips’ characterization of Boustany as the worst GOP congressman is certainly over the top, two of the most prominent congressional scorecards on the right side of the spectrum do show that Landry has a stronger record as a fiscal and economic conservative.
And you’ll hear lots about that from Landry’s camp from now through Election Day, assuming he makes the race against Boustany.