Reproductive Health: Scoring the Bush Dogs

by: Natasha Chart

Fri May 23, 2008 at 17:04


How do the Bush Dogs stack up on reproductive rights issues? Mostly bad, especially compared to the rest of the Democratic caucus. Not as bad as they could be, especially compared to the Republican caucus.

I used two voter scorecards to evaluate them on, the most recent available from NARAL Pro-Choice America (2007) and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (2006). The NARAL 2007 House scores were based on two 2007 votes, one partially repealing the global gag rule and the other and one preserving federal funding to support Planned Parenthood in providing family planning services to low income families, with possible voting scores of 0, 50 and 100%. The PPAF 2006 House scores are based on a composite of 11 votes and/or issue positions, which you can look at by clicking on any representative's name at the link, and giving a more nuanced view of a member's stance on reproductive justice.

I'm including here only the scores of the Bush Dogs. Scores of other House members were tabulated separately but from the same references, means were calculated without the inclusion of those marked NA, or otherwise indicated below.

Natasha Chart :: Reproductive Health: Scoring the Bush Dogs
Bush DogsPPAF 2006NARAL 2007
AL-05: Bud Cramer55%50%
AR-02: Vic Snyder80%100%
AR-04: Mike Ross17%100%
CA-20: Jim Costa67%100%
CO-03: John Salazar33%100%
FL-02: Allen Boyd80%100%
GA-08: Jim MarshallNA0%
GA-12: John Barrow67%100%
IA-03: Leonard Boswell80%100%
IL-03: Dan Lipinski0%0%
IL-08: Melissa Bean100%100%
IN-02: Joe DonnellyNA0%
IN-08: Brad EllsworthNA0%
IN-09: Baron HillNA100%
KY-06: Ben Chandler50%100%
LA-03: Charlie Melancon0%0%
MN-01: Tim Walz NA100%
MN-07: Collin Peterson0%0%
MS-04: Gene Taylor0%0%
NC-02: Bob Etheridge70%100%
NC-07: Mike McIntyre0%0%
NC-11: Heath SchulerNA0%
ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy64%100%
OH-06: Charlie WilsonNA0%
OH-18: Zack SpaceNA100%
OK-02: Dan Boren0%0%
PA-10: Chris CarneyNA100%
PA-04: Jason AltmireNA50%
SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin100%100%
TN-04: Lincoln Davis0%0%
TN-05: Jim Cooper60%100%
TN-06: Bart Gordon50%100%
TN-08: John Tanner50%100%
TX-17: Chet Edwards82%100%
TX-22: Nick LampsonNA100%
TX-23: Ciro RodriguezNA100%
TX-28: Henry Cuellar0%100%
UT-02: Jim Matheson50%100%
WA-03: Brian Baird89%100%
Bush Dog Mean Score46%67%
Special41% **54% ***
All Democrats*82%90%
All Republicans1%8%

* Including Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

** Cumulative Bush Dog mean calculated without Melissa Bean and Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin's outlying 100% scores.

*** The mean score of the 12 Bush Dogs elected in 2006, and so only included in the NARAL 2007 scorecard.


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full rankings (0.00 / 0)
Could you possibly post a link to a google spreadsheet with this data for all House members?

-Alex


erm, maybe (0.00 / 0)
But I'd rather not. Those tables took hours to get out of their original format and have been sort shuffled in a way that was convenient for the auto sum function, but problematic for reading easily. Also, I'm sick of looking at them after they ate my day. Sorry, though thanks for asking.

On the bright side, I plan to add to and revisit this topic as new voting guides come available nearer the election, and may well use this diary as an updatable standing reference. So presuming I'm in a better mood in future and all goes as planned, I'll try to fix the formatting and share the wealth.


[ Parent ]
V. interesting. (0.00 / 0)
Why are Bean and Herseth-Sandlin not included in the mean score?


They are included in the general mean (0.00 / 0)
However, they are not included in the double asterisked mean that represents the scores of their male counterparts. I thought it would be interesting to calculate that, because as you can see, they're the only two on the list to have 100% scores, furthering Chris' point about how EMILY's List may be our best progressive PAC.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, those 100% (0.00 / 0)
scores made me wonder if, in the case of very conservative districts, we shouldn't focus almost exclusively on trying to run conservative female Dems.

[ Parent ]
Proves my point from yesterday--we need more women (4.00 / 1)
There are notable exceptions, of course, but by and large women are more progressive on this issue as on most others.  Stephanie Herseth was bad on gay marriage, but she did stand up for reproductive rights in pretty conservative South Dakota.  Evidently she felt that was as much slack as she would get.    

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
This (0.00 / 0)
of course seems like a good articulation of why the Bush Dog approach is flawed.  Almost all of these folks score better than Republicans.  It is important to provide a comparison of the representative to the district. A Blue Dog in an extremely conservative district is not such a bad thing. I am represented by Chet Edwards who has the distinction of representing the most Republican district that is held by a Democrat.  He is also George Bush's congressman.  It is amazing that this district is represented by someone who has scored 82% and 100% in these ratings respectively.  The fact that he constantly votes pro-choice and against the war in such an anti-choice, pro-war district should make him a progressive super hero.  If you were to succeed in having him defeated by a more progressive candidate in a primary you would insure the election of a mean spirited Republican.  It may make sense to go after Blue Dog candidates in more progressive districts, but not those, like Edwards, who provide a Democratic option where there would not otherwise be one.  

Nobody thinks that Bush Dogs (4.00 / 1)
are worse than Republicans. Of course they're better, that's not the point of targeting them. The point is making them the very best conservative Dems they can be. And if we have to lose one like Carney to pressure three other Blue Dogs to at least more strongly resist any rightward pressure, so be it.

Fact is, even in extremely conservative districts, it's not like these things are so clear-cut. Voting to give telcos amnesty for breaking the law, for example, isn't necessarily a conservative position.


[ Parent ]
Worst Bush Dogs are not in conservative districts (4.00 / 2)
I can understand some of these because they are from conservative areas and have to carefully pick issues on which they are more liberal than the district.  The woprst are ones like Lipinski who are from districts that should elect someone better.  But as we found, he will be very hard to dislodge.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
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