The American Conservative Union has released its 2015 scorecard. It ranks Congressmen and Senators based on key issues that they think are important for conservatives. It is often considered to be the gold standard of conservatism on The Hill.
The Louisiana delegation scored an average of 76, but that’s weighed down by Cedric Richmond’s pathetic score of 4. The delegation’s average score shoots up to 86 when Richmond is taken out.
John Fleming and Garret Graves led the way with 96. They only voted against the ACU on an amendment on foreign aid to Afghanistan and for reauthorizing the Ex-Im bank respectively.
Here’s the how the House delegation voted:
John Fleming 96
Garret Graves 96
Ralph Abraham 83
Steve Scalise 79
Charles Boustany 63
Cedric Richmond 4
Ralph Abraham’s ACU score is what would you expect from a Congressman representing the 5th District. They’re going to be solid on social issues, but more squishy on fiscal issues. Indeed Abraham’s votes against the ACU were on legislation to reduce spending.
Steve Scalise’s score of 79 is down from 96 in 2014. Much of it is because of the fact he has become House Majority Whip and the priorities of the GOP caucus aren’t always the same as the ACU. In the long term, this is a good thing for both the GOP and the conservative movement. The GOP’s job is to win elections and pass bills, not necessarily to promote conservative philosophy. The conservative movement should however help hold the party accountable.
Charles Boustany’s score of 63 is down from his score of 68 in 2014. Boustany voted against the ACU on numerous spending reduction amendments and he also voted to reauthorize the Ex-Im bank. He will have to explain to Louisiana’s voters why he has voted the way he has in Congress when he runs for the Senate this fall. The Fleming campaign was happy to highlight Boustany’s low ACU score in their release and they will surely highlight it some more in the coming months.
Over in the Senate, David Vitter scored a 95 and Bill Cassidy scored a 92. Both Vitter and Cassidy voted for an amendment that mandates a new energy efficiency program and Cassidy voted for an amendment called for a mandated paid sick leave program. The ACU opposed both bills. The improvement over Mary Landrieu is remarkable.
Many people are annoyed with “scorecard conservatism” and see these scorecards as just measuring which Congressmen are captive to that particular special interest. But these scorecards do serve a valuable purpose. They help identify which Congressmen vote a certain way on issues that are important.
They’re also good for bragging rights, as John Fleming has already shown.