It is awards season, everyone! For cool people (well, cooler people than me) that means it’s time for the distribution of Grammys and Emmys and Oscars and Whatevers. For other people, it’s awards and accolades strewn upon Capitol Hill, meaning the various ratings of members of Congress by media entities and advocacy organizations.
It is, as I have analogized previously, like the trophies given out at the end of a season to kids in a youth basketball league, except some of the awards come from the coaches and others come from fawning parents. Like youth basketball awards, these accolades will sit on shelves in the corners of rooms for a few years and eventually be thrown out.
Anyway, here they are.
The League of Conservation Voters
Every year, the LCV ranks how members of the House and Senate vote on issues related to the environment. How did those august bodies fare this year, LCV?
From an environmental perspective, the best that can be said about the second session of the 112th Congress is that it is over. Indeed, the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continued its war on the environment, public health, and clean energy throughout 2012, cementing its record as the most anti-environmental House in our nation’s history. …
The good news is that while the U.S. House voted against the environment with alarming frequency, both the U.S. Senate and the Obama administration stood firm against the vast majority of these attacks. There are 14 Senate votes included in the 2012 Scorecard, many of which served as a sharp rebuke of the House’s polluter-driven agenda.
Very, very surprising, I’m sure you’ll agree.
The LCV also made little maps, so you can see which states hate the Earth the most. Here’s the House, which really hates the Earth a lot.
And the Senate, which hates it a little less.
You can see at the bottom there the average vote for each body: The House voted the right way on environmentally important legislation 42 percent of the time; the Senate did 56 percent. Nice work, everyone. You can also see how that compares to other congresses in this graph.
The terrible House has gotten terribler recently which, again, is completely unsurprising.
But no one cares how each team did. People want to know about the players. Who was the most environmentally friendly member of the House? Was it Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)? Was it Rep. Paul Ryan (R-VP)? No, it was not either of those guys! Eight House members had perfect scores: Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Woolsey (D-Calif.), Stark (D-Calif.), Honda (D-Calif.), Capps (D-Calif.), Polis (D-Col.), Quigley (D-Ill.), Markey (D-Mass.). Nice work, everyone. Here is a small trophy to put in your district office.
Here’s the full scorecard [PDF], which should be used for betting purposes.
The National Journal and some conservative group
Remember how this article was about awards season? Yes, it’s still about that.
The Huffington Post runs down (in both senses) these other accolades.
Every year, the National Journal determines the ideological standouts from within the Democratic and Republican caucuses in the House and Senate. It takes the “roll-call votes in the second session of the 112th Congress,” and sorts through them until it has identified the ones that put the ideological differences between the parties in the sharpest relief. The Journal checks who voted for what on those occasions, subjects those votes to statistical analysis, assigns weights “based on the degree to which it correlated with other votes in the same issue area,” and factors in the various absences and abstentions. Finally, they cut the head off the duck and watch the duck’s dying torso stagger around a Ouija board while listening to Enya. Ha, just kidding, I made up the part that actually sounds like it might have been fun!
At any rate, after all is said and done, the Journal arrives at results. And so, without further ado, your 2012 winners:
– Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) is the most conservative senator.
– Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tied for the most liberal senator.
– Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) is the most conservative member of the House (like you couldn’t have guessed that).
– And a whole mess of Democratic representatives have tied for the most liberal member of the House. They are Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), John Olver (D-Mass.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), and I promise you that is it.
And some conservative group gave awards!
Those who score 100 percent on the [that group's] scale get recognized as a “Defender of Liberty.” This year, the senators earning that distinction are: Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
The similarly honored House members are Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Dan Burton (R-Ind.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), John Fleming (R-La.), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), Wally Herger (R-Calif.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jeff Landry (R-La.), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Tom Price (R-Ga.), Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Steve Scalise (R-La.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.).
The LCV rankings for the senators were 35. In sum. Cumulatively. I didn’t bother to add up those for the House, but it was probably the same grand total.
My personal rankings
Everyone got a 100 percent and a pizza party.