The Problem With the AFP Scorecard

Earlier today, Erick pointed out the absurdity of the ACU legislative scorecard, in which Mitch McConnell scores 100% – higher than Jim DeMint.  Well, the scorecard released by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is an improvement, but also in need of some scrutiny.


The headline nugget of their Senate scorecard is that Marco Rubio is the only senator with a 100.  That should automatically raise the ire of any casual observer of the legislative process.  Senator Marco Rubio is a good conservative, but he is not more conservative than Senators DeMint, Paul, and Lee.  Moreover, how is it that McCain scores a 94 and Rand Paul only scores a 91?  No scorecard is perfect because people have different motivations for their votes, but any measure that reverses the ideological order that is dictated by reality is not worth a bucket of spit.

So here is how less conservative equals more conservative on the AFP scorecard.  They positively scored H.R. 1, the Republican version of the first CR of the 112th Congress in March 2011.  The problem is that while H.R. 1 did cut $57 billion from the Obama baseline, it failed to live up to the $100 billion from the GOP Pledge to America.  There’s nothing wrong with voting for this bill with the understanding that it was a good start.  However, it is foolish to positively score something that violated a clear pledge.  The Club for Growth and Heritage Action stayed neutral.  AFP positively scored it.  Rubio and McCain voted for it; DeMint, Lee, and Paul voted against it.

Moving along, AFP positively scored the Ryan budget both in 2011 and 2012.  Again, while it was a good start, it failed to balance until 2040.  This was a giveaway to all the pukes in the House and the Senate.  DeMint and Lee voted against it one year; Paul voted against it both years.  Rubio and McCain supported it both years.


On the other hand, Rand Paul and Mike Lee introduced budget resolutions that would balance within 5 years, and they were not scored by AFP.  Rubio and McCain voted no, while DeMint, Lee, and Paul voted yes.  Heritage Action scored the Lee budget.  It’s easier to score against bills, but when positively scoring bills, organizations should reserve them for game-changer bills that are supported by the entire movement, such as Cut, Cap, and Balance.

Then there are obviously some non-economic issues, which are understandably not within the purview of AFP’s scorecard.  For example, Heritage Action scored against Obama’s radical nominee for an ambassadorship in El Salvador.  Conservatives like DeMint voted no.  There’s nothing wrong with a purely economic/fiscal scorecard.  The Club’s scorecard is also limited in that sense.  It’s just important to remember that there is more picture.

The bottom line, as Erick noted earlier, is that not all scorecards are created equally.  The devil is in the details.


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