In February, National Journal released its Ratings for the U.S. House of Representatives. The ratings were based on economic, social, and foreign policy issues and Mississippi’s 4th District Congressman, Steven Palazzo, was rated as the most conservative from Mississippi and the 21st most conservative out of all 435 House members. Palazzo is more conservative than 76% of the House of Representatives on Economic issues, 87% on Social issues, and 95% on Foreign Policy issues.
The following organizations offer ratings of elected officials based on their priorities (Economy, Religious Freedom, Foreign Policy, etc.) and points of view. Many of these organizations’ websites can be searched to find ratings for previous years so that former representatives (such as Travis Childers and Gene Taylor) can be researched as well:
Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO) provides an extensive listing of groups that provide Congressional ratings. Their list can be viewed by clicking HERE.
In rebuttal to Chris Chocola’s March 18th op. ed. in the Sun Herald, former Gov. Haley Barbour wrote Cochran’s foes don’t know Pascagoula from Pontotoc.
Stating that Chocola’s opinion was full of half-truths and hypocrisy, Barbour started with his own. Barbour states “I expected as much when I read the headline, ‘Thad Cochran is a liberal'” when the headline actually said, “Thad Cochran has a liberal record.”
That aside, Gov. Barbour brings out the following points:
- Chocola (U.S. Representative for Indiana from 2003-2007) voted for every debt ceiling increase that Thad Cochran voted for during that time.
- Club for Growth helped oust then Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) in the 2012 Republican Primary which was ultimately filled by a Democrat in the General Election.
- Sen. Cochran had out-dated disaster assistance laws updated after Hurricane Katrina.
- Sen. Cochran has voted against Obamacare every chance a bill came to the Senate floor. Chocola claimed that Cochran’s vote to reopen the federal government was a vote for Obamacare.
Barbour’s op.ed. is finished with the following:
[Sen. Cochran] was the giant who stood tall and produced for our state at our greatest hour of need after Katrina. . . The great news is Thad is line to be chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee if Republicans win control of the Senate. . . He will again be able to ensure Mississippi [is] treated fairly and the runaway spending of the Obama Administration is stopped. . .
For more information:
In an op. ed. for the Sun Herald, former Indiana congressman and President of Club for Growth Chris Chocola painted Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) as having a liberal record during his 42 years serving in Washington, DC. He cites the American Conservative Union as having given Cochran the lowest conservative rating in Congress during the Obama era.
While some assertions are misleading (Mississippi receives more federal dollars than it sends to Washington so it is not reasonable to say that Mississippi tax dollars go to other states), the principles are right on target. For every dollar in pork Sen. Cochran has brought to the state, he has voted to send many more dollars of pork to other states to receive those states’ Senators’ support for his pork. Chocola writes,
A lot is made about projects in Mississippi that Thad Cochran got federal money for. What his supporters (many of whom are lobbyists who are paid to get politicians like Cochran to appropriate money for one project or another) fail to mention is that for every building in Mississippi Sen. Cochran voted for, he also had to vote to spend Mississippi tax dollars on things like a Woodstock Museum in New York or a Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Oklahoma or a Lobster Institute in Maine. All of which, like Sen. Cochran’s pork projects, received millions of dollars paid for by Mississippi taxpayers.
In the words of Milton Friedman, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” And the U.S. has a $17 Trillion dollar credit card bill to show for it.
For more information:
With conservative activists backing challengers to sitting Republican Senators in Mississippi (Chris McDaniel), Kansas (Milton Wolf), and Kentucky (Matt Bevin), establishment Republicans are feeling the pressure to maintain their power. In an interview with the New York Times, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared war on the more conservative members of his party stating, “I think we are going to crush [the Tea Party] everywhere.”
In Mississippi, Sen. Thad Cochran currently has little to worry about. He is comfortable with his record and lead over Chris McDaniel heading into the state’s June 3rd Primary according to a Roll Call report. Tea Party groups, including those that support McDaniel, have targeted incumbents like Cochran who have used earmarks and their positions within the federal government to bring pork into their states while bolstering their own footholds in government.
Conservative organizations such as FreedomWorks, the Madison Project, Club for Growth, and the Senate Conservatives Fund are collectively but unofficially known as the “Tea Party.” Among other things, such organizations have typically supported a return to constitutionally limited government, lower taxes (if not abolition of the IRS), and reducing the size and intrusiveness of the federal government. In 2010 and 2012 such organizations were responsible for ousting Republican Party-backed candidates to elect Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
The Republican Party traditionally supports incumbents but has been criticized in recent years by its more conservative members like the Tea Party organizations for neglecting the U.S. Constitution, not fighting for limited government and lower taxes, and not aggressively opposing President Obama and Democrat Party policies.