I have said over the years that Republicans in Congress are at their worst when they have control of both Houses of Congress, and especially when they hold the presidency as well.
The last time the Republicans had absolute control of the government was during the presidency of George W. Bush when they had a majority in the House and Senate for over four years.
And what did they do when they were in charge? They almost doubled the federal budget and the national debt, created the monstrous Department of Homeland Security, greatly expanded the Department of Education, passed the Patriot Act, let the government begin spying on Americans, started two senseless wars, and instituted the Republican version of Obamacare (the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act). Democrats could not have done any worse.
But things are different now.
Time to grade the Republican members of Congress.
The latest edition of the Freedom Index was just published in . The Freedom Index is “a congressional scoreboard based on the U.S. Constitution” that “rates congressmen based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements.” This edition of the Freedom Index is the first for the 115th Congress.
This edition of the Freedom Index tracks congressional votes in the House on major regulations, federal funding for abortion, the Stream Protection Rule, predator control, federal family planning, veteran gun purchases, Homeland Security defense of agriculture, omnibus appropriations, ObamaCare replacement, and the National Computer Forensics Institute authorization. It tracks votes in the Senate on balancing the budget; Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; the Stream Protection Rule; firearms purchases; predator control; Montenegro NATO membership; federal family planning; omnibus appropriations; blocking U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia; and Iranian and Russian sanctions.
Only two representatives, Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Walter Jones (R-NC), and one senator, Rand Paul (R-KY), earned a score of 100 percent.
There are 241 Republicans in the House. Aside from Representatives Massie and Jones, only Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) received an A. He scored a 90 percent. Only 4 Republicans earned a B, 98 received a C, 111 got a D, and 20 scored an F. (5 Republicans were not scored because 4 filled vacancies and cast few votes and the House Speaker generally doesn’t vote.)
There are 52 Republicans in the Senate. Aside from Senator Paul, only Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) received an A. He scored 90 percent. Nine Republicans earned a C, 11 received a D, and 30 scored an F.
With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?
But aren’t the scores of the Democrats in Congress worse than the scores of the Republicans?
This is the perpetual defense of the Republican Party: it is not as bad as the Democratic Party. It is, in fact, the only defense.
But when it comes to the important issues of liberty, property, and peace, it is clear that there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties.
And Republicans are worse than Democrats because they use libertarian rhetoric to deceive conservatives and libertarians into thinking that they actually believe their mantra of the Constitution, limited government, federalism, fiscal conservatism, personal freedom, private property, and the free market.
Just take one issue: the war on drugs. Republicans support it lock, stock, and barrel even though it is not authorized by the Constitution, it increases the size and power of government, it violates the principle of federalism, it wastes billions of dollars a year, it negates personal freedom, it infringes upon property rights, and it is contrary to the free market.
How bad are the Republicans in Congress? The few that are good are very, very good. The many that are bad are horrid.
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest book is Gun Control and the Second Amendment. Visit his website.