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The Party of Bob Dole is Now the Party of Rick Perry

rick-perry-close-blue

Nate Silver sees Marco Rubio as a viable presidential contender because, “among the candidates who will be deemed reliably conservative by Republican voters and insiders, he may stand the best chance of maintaining a reasonably good image with general election voters.”  It’s a bit too early to interest me in speculation about 2016 but this graphic Silver compiled, an index of three widely used ideological rankings, struck me as worth delving into:

conservative-rankings-nate-silver

That Rubio is among the most conservative high profile Republicans is somewhat interesting, in that he’s a moderate on immigration reform. I’d have thought him as less ideological than, say, Mike Huckabee, Bob McDonnell, or Ted Cruz; in fact, they’re essentially tied.

What really jumped out at me, though, are the two blue lines: The average Congressional Republican at the time of Ronald Reagan’s election was a 30. Which is to say, the average Congressional Republican was Bob Dole.  Contrast that with the caucus that just left office, which was a 48–halfway between George W.Bush and Rick Perry. Off the top of my head, I’d say that the current crop would be even more conservative, since the party lost seats in both swing districts and swing states—and tended to nominate ideological purists in places where they could be elected.

Interestingly, too, the two most recent Republican presidential nominees were both 39s on this scale–more conservative than the 96th Congress but less so than Ronald Reagan. All the 2016 nominees being widely touted are much more conservative than that–with the notable exception of Chris Christie, who’s off the charts in the other direction. While less plausible, Rand Paul is to the other extreme.

Now, let’s stipulate that these ranking schemas can be problematic. Taking a basket of goods, treating them as equally important, and assigning ranks based on them can sometimes give surprising results. For that matter, people disagree with the meaning of the label “conservative.” Indeed, the indeces themselves do that, sometimes differing wildly on how they rank a given individual (see Rick Santorum and Eric Cantor for an illustration). But averaging the three should smooth out the variations and the overall rankings pass the smell test.

 

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Josh Brolin is gonna play Rick Perry in a movie soon, i demand it..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Does that mean that we’ll soon see Rick Perry doing ED medication ads on TV? (Because I’m sure that your spam catcher won’t allow me to use the V-word.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. Sejanus says:

    “The Party of Bob Dole is Now the Party of Rick Perry”

    And yet Joyner will vote GOP for State Legislature, Governor, House, Senate, President and every other electable office.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  4. john personna says:

    Perhaps those two blue bars reinforce why McCain had a “which McCain?” problem and Romney had a “which Romney?” problem.

    They spent their lives in a fairly moderate zone, and then had to re-brand themselves for their primaries, as zealots. Both faced difficulties flipping back to moderate mode in the general.

    My recommendation to all remaining moderates in the party would be to beat feet. Get out. Change from within is a pipe dream. The only thing that might convince the GOP, someday, would be the ultimatum that you’ll only come back when they are reasonable and responsible.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Party of Bob Dole is Now the Party of Rick Perry

    The GOP is now the party of Rick “Oooops” Perry? Oops.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Also, this guy:

    Missouri state Rep. Mike Leara (R) loves the Second Amendment so much he wants to make it a felony for state lawmakers to propose legislation he thinks would violate it.

    or in other words,

    He filed the bill criminalizing certain bill language to make a point about freedom, he said.

    Say what you want about Missouri Republicans, they give a whole new meaning to, “You can’t fix stupid.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 0

  7. Scott says:

    I’ve always thought the Republicans have become the party of George Wallace. I wonder where he would place.

    As for the accuracy of this chart, I find it interesting that I voted for Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and George H.W Bush and haven’t voted Republican since (at least in Presidential elections).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: James, I just now saw the “Ooops under RP’s picture, so you beat me to it. :-(

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. Moosebreath says:

    James,

    I am surprised that you are surprised at this. It’s certainly no shock to people on the other side of the aisle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  10. Septimius says:

    Alternate headline:

    The Party of Ronald Reagan is Now the Party of Ronald Reagan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  11. Idiot says:

    And just today I received an email on the new housing market in Texas. Texas led the nation for the second straight year in new home construction. Perry may not be able to speak in complete sentances or remember which cabinet level departments he wants to close, but the state rocks for creating jobs. In the end, I would rather jobs than more preening speeches, but I lost that argument recently.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  12. Scott says:

    @Idiot: I, also, would love to have an ocean of oil sitting underneath me.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  13. Spartacus says:

    James wrote:

    Interestingly, too, the two most recent Republican presidential nominees were both 39s on this scale–more conservative than the 96th Congress but less so than Ronald Reagan.

    From a Democrat’s perspective, this is absolutely great news politically. This will encourage all the right-wingers that they’ve been correct all along when they said that the GOP was losing presidential elections because its nominees weren’t conservative enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Idiot:

    but the state rocks for creating jobs. In the end, I would rather jobs than more preening speeches, but I lost that argument recently.

    Hey go for it. They got lots of minimum wage jobs you can have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  15. Spartacus says:

    @Idiot:

    Perry may not be able to speak in complete sentances or remember which cabinet level departments he wants to close, but the state rocks for creating jobs.

    What policies of Rick Perry do you think are contributing to the housing starts and job creation?

    Do you think those policies can be replicated in other states?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  16. john personna says:

    @Spartacus:

    Texas has long had minimal zoning regulations, and lots of flat land. Those do contribute to housing starts. Here in California, where sprawl is hemmed in by mountains, we probably could/should relax our regulations … but that would allow builders to rework communities to higher densities … something current home owners do not want.

    (I live in a coastal community where it is simply illegal to build over 2 stories high. That pretty much caps density, and housing starts.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  17. matt bernius says:

    @Septimius:

    Alternate headline:
    The Party of Ronald Reagan is Now the Party of Ronald Reagan.

    This is a fair point and worth calling out as well. As is, according to this chart, GWB was more “conservative” than Reagan (interpret however you will).

    The findings here do back up other studies that show how, in recent years, elected Republicans have moved significantly more to the right than Dems have moved to the left . See Dr Taylor’s discussion of those findings here: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/polarization-in-the-congress/

    And the original study here: http://voteview.com/blog/?p=494

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  18. Spartacus says:

    @john personna:

    I appreciate that Texas has less restrictive zoning regulations, but the housing starts are a reaction to the increased demand, which is most likely driven by a growing population. A lot of that population growth is attributable to immigration, both from other states as well as from Latin America. And, I suspect that people are moving there because they can find work there. So, what policies of Rick Perry are creating the jobs that are causing people to move there?

    I suspect that Texas is a favorable place for companies because the wages are very low, there is no income tax and the environmental regulations are quite permissive. So, the question is, should the other states lower their wages and get rid of their income taxes and environmental regulations? If all the states did that, this would not produce any new jobs unless companies in other countries with higher taxes and more regulation than the U.S. decided to move jobs from those countries into the U.S. I strongly suspect that most Americans don’t want that kind of society and that is why they choose to live here as opposed to, say, Mexico or China.

    So, then, it appears that Rick Perry’s policies aren’t responsible for creating any new jobs; they’re just responsible for the relocation of jobs from other states to Texas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  19. Spartacus says:

    @Spartacus:

    I should also point out that, in addition to not creating new jobs, Rick Perry’s policies have the effect of lowering the wages that were paid for the jobs that have been relocated to Texas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  20. john personna says:

    @Spartacus:

    Oh I think it predates Perry, and that while there are downsides to being business friendly and energy rich, those two do generate headline growth.

    (I learned this week that my sister is planning a move to Houston, as the best market for her energy skilz.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. Scott says:

    @john personna: The housing starts are due to some growth but also due to the fact that housing prices didn’t skyrocket, there was no bubble and the overhang was much less than in other states. Housing prices didn’t drop as much because they didn’t go up as much.

    Ironically, some people attribute some of that to the fact that Texas actually has more regulations with regard to mortgages and home equity loans and so people’s houses were not used as an ATM as much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  22. john personna says:

    @Scott:

    Ironically, some people attribute some of that to the fact that Texas actually has more regulations with regard to mortgages and home equity loans and so people’s houses were not used as an ATM as much.

    That is interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. grumpy realist says:

    Texas also happens to be high up on the list when you’re looking at the percentage of people without health insurance, or low-paying jobs, or…..

    A lot of people love these low-tax states until they start needing something after they’ve retired. Then they discover why they’re so low-tax.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  24. matt bernius says:

    @Scott:

    Ironically, some people attribute some of that to the fact that Texas actually has more regulations with regard to mortgages and home equity loans and so people’s houses were not used as an ATM as much.

    Source pretty please? I’m really interested to read more on this…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. C. Clavin says:

    “…the state rocks for creating jobs…”

    3 factors:
    Stealing jobs from other states…kinda hard to replicate this policy as President
    Growing Government…not Republicanism
    Massive immigration growth…not Republicanism

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  26. john personna says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Texas also happens to be high up on the list when you’re looking at the percentage of people without health insurance, or low-paying jobs, or…..

    That’s the flip side. Texas has the 5th worst poverty rate, by state, in the union.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  27. Jeremy R says:

    That Rubio is among the most conservative high profile Republicans is somewhat interesting, in that he’s a moderate on immigration reform.

    Is he? Has he ever put the details of what he supports to paper? All he ever seems to do is snipe at the President’s proposals on the subject, constantly accusing him of poisoning the well (think back to Rubio’s completely undefined GOP-version of the Dream Act).

    Rubio appears to be running for President. The GOP base is still violently opposed to immigration reform. Rubio is being advanced as a public symbol of the party’s willingness to pass immigration reform. This is important for when they yank the football away, blaming the President for negotiations failing. It will allow Rubio to both be seen by the general public (since this is the way the media has been covering it) as the reasonable guy who really wanted to get something done on immigration, and he’ll fully re-ingratiate himself with the GOP base when he announces he’s walking away from the table because the President poisoned the deal somehow. With Republican primary voters, he’ll be the immigration reform point man who killed Obama’s “amnesty” and saved the day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  28. gVOR08 says:

    Too bad Nate didn’t publish a similar list for Democrats. I’m sure it would show that both sides do it and have equally moved to their extremes. (snark font)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  29. Septimius says:

    @Spartacus:

    So, then, it appears that Rick Perry’s policies aren’t responsible for creating any new jobs; they’re just responsible for the relocation of jobs from other states to Texas.

    How would those policies not be responsible for encouraging start-ups or giving existing businesses a competitive advantage, i.e. creating new jobs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  30. Scott says:

    @matt bernius: It was generally known here in Texas. For a while you couldn’t get home equity loans period. Here’s a couple references from a Google search. I’m sure there are more.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2009/08/what_good_are_mortgage_regulat

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/04/dont-mess-texas-mortgages

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  31. mantis says:

    @john personna:

    That’s the flip side. Texas has the 5th worst poverty rate, by state, in the union.

    I followed your link and found that list interesting. The eleven highest poverty rates among the states:

    50 Mississippi 20.1%
    49 Louisiana 18.3%
    48 New Mexico 17.9%
    47 Alabama 16.7%
    46 Texas 16.2%
    45 Arkansas 15.9%
    44 Oklahoma 15.6%
    43 West Virginia 15.4%
    42 Arizona 15.2%
    41 South Carolina 15.0%
    40 Tennessee 15.0%

    The South is dragging the rest of us down.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  32. anjin-san says:

    @Idiot:

    I live near San Francisco, and home values are soaring. Do you give Jerry Brown the credit for that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  33. Tsar Nicholas says:

    In this “analysis” representatives and senators and governors all are lumped together and are compared with each other, as if they have the same or even similar job responsibilities and roles. Sort of like comparing defensive backs and running backs; hell, they’re all football players, right?

    That aside, the pejorative headline to this blog post is cute, and expected, given the demographics of the Internet-academe, but like pretty much everything else regarding the Internet-academe it’s naive, inexperienced and airheaded.

    It’s not a coincidence that entire businesses are picking up and moving to Texas. It’s not a coincidence that Texas already is starting to challenge the Silicon Valley with respect to high tech jobs, despite a six-decade head start for the former. It’s not a coincidence that Texas is looking to return unneeded tax receipts to taxpayers, whereas all the other large-population states are dealing with tax hikes, services cuts and shortages. It’s not a coincidence that Texas’ unemployment rate is so much lower than for example California’s (6.1% vs. 9.8%), despite the fact that Texas’ rate of population growth in recent years has been much faster and that Texas is growing its measured workforce substantially, whereas California’s measured workforce actually is shrinking, due to vast numbers of people giving up and not searching for work.

    If the Internet-academe had a clue we’d be seeing blog headlines such as: ‘The Party of Harry Truman is Now the Party of George McGovern” or “The Party of Texas in the 1980′s is now the Party of Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans.” Fat chance, however.

    Governance matters. Laws and regulations matter. Reality is important to those who are saddled with it. And there’s a whole other world out there beyond those campus lecture halls.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  34. matt bernius says:

    @Scott:
    Thanks for the links sir. Much appreciated (and +1′d).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  35. Tsar Nicholas says:

    “six-decade head start for the latter,” that is. Damn dyslexia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mantis: I have spent more than a little bit of time in 5 of those states. But you left off MO….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. john personna says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    It’s not a coincidence that Texas already is starting to challenge the Silicon Valley with respect to high tech jobs, despite a six-decade head start for the former.

    Actually you were right the first time. Look up Jack Kilby.

    (A lot of federal funding flowed into Texas as well. The MCC was a big Austin operation.)

    Even with those deep roots though, there is actually a “STATES WITH LARGEST PRESENCE OF STEM-RELATED JOBS” link. Their “STEM LQ” (higher is better) shows a 1.15 for California, and a 1.04 for Texas. (1.0 would equal the national concentration of STEM jobs. A 1.15 would be 15% higher, more or less.)

    … so basically your free-form poetry of prejudice is disconnected from facts (again).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  38. john personna says:

    Also note that the top STEM states are:

    District of Columbia 2.20
    Washington (WA) 1.53
    Virginia (VA) 1.49
    Maryland (MD) 1.48
    Massachusetts (MA) 1.48

    I wonder if Tsar will now be data-driven and say those must have the best policies?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna: Imagine that….. people want to get paid. Who coulda figured?????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  40. David says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As a fellow resident of Misery, I second that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. Ben Wolf says:

    @Scott:

    I’ve always thought the Republicans have become the party of George Wallace.

    Wallace recanted and repented. These people never will, so it’s arguable the Republican Party is even worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  42. bill says:

    @john personna: plus there’s no freakin water in SoCal! we build lakes at least, and get enough rain to fill them…and it’s legal to shoot “sierra club” members on site, no limit either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  43. al-Ameda says:

    Basically, Chris Christie is just about the only sane governing official in the Republican Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. walt moffett says:

    @Scott:

    Wallace would probably not fit this scale. He was interested primarily in getting elected, rewarding friends and punishing enemies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. bill says:

    @mantis: low cost of living too! the worst run states are all red, read something into that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. john personna says:

    @bill:

    The Sierra snowpack is a great, renewable, water resource. It has ups and downs, but it might outlast aquifers being drained across the country (globe).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bill:

    we build lakes at least, and get enough rain to fill them

    Heh…. In case you haven’t noticed, the water situation in Texas really sucks right now, and it ain’t likely to get better any time soon.

    Enjoy yourself come this July.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    So the solution for moderates is to move into the party of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. How does moving into a party that want to bring back the draft, wants race based reparations, wants a 70% top marginal tax rate do anything for moderates? How does moving into the party that supports open borders, amnesty, a bigger public sector and a smaller private sector going to be good for moderate Republicans?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  49. Rob in CT says:

    Setting aside your mischaracterizations of the Dems, Super, an influx of center-righties into the party would make those policies even more dead on arrival than they already are, with the obvious exception of immigration reform (since both parties, as presently constituted, appear to want to do that).

    Which looks to me to be basically what’s been happening with the Dems over the past ~20 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  50. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    1/3 of the country are independents, nutjob.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  51. Mr. Replica says:

    @john personna:

    1/3 of the country are independents, nutjob.

    2/3 of the country are liberals, nutjob.

    FTFY

    (That’s basically what “conservatives” hear anyway.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  52. john personna says:

    @Mr. Replica:

    Though, don’t forget, a “real conservative” can at the same time win them over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  53. C. Clavin says:

    Superdope seems to think this is a literary blog…and so he/she posts short-fiction for our review.
    Sorry Superdope…wrong blog.
    Do you have anything real to offer?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  54. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @bill: The 2/3rds empty Highland Lakes called and would like to have a word with you. But, hey, at least we can rock climb down the side of Lake Travis!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. Spartacus says:

    @Septimius: How would those policies not be responsible for encouraging start-ups or giving existing businesses a competitive advantage, i.e. creating new jobs?

    Business creation is driven by demand for a product or service. Lower wages among highly skilled workers could likely result in the invention of more new products/services that people want or the increased manufacture of highly desired products already in existence, thereby creating a demand, but Texas isn’t creating skilled jobs. Instead, it’s creating low-skilled, low-wage jobs primarily in the services sector.

    Texas’ reduced regulations also do not create demand – they merely lower the cost of doing business in Texas. Any jobs that rely on a low-regulation environment are more likely to relocate to Texas.

    I’m not aware of any data that suggest low income taxes encourage business start-ups. If anything, they probably discourage start-ups because they make safer, lower-return investments more attractive, thereby starving riskier investments of capital.

    All of these things make Texas a more attractive business environment and companies that operate there definitely have a competitive advantage. But this only results in the relocation of existing jobs to Texas. It doesn’t result in the creation of new jobs that didn’t already exist. So Texas policies may work for businesses in select states, but they cannot work for an entire country unless that country is striving to look more like China than, say, Finland.

    It’s the same as with outsourcing generally. All the clothing manufacturing jobs that used to be in the U.S. have shifted to low-wage countries like China. So China has more of those jobs and the U.S. has fewer of them, but the total number of those jobs did not increase as a result of China’s low wages and lax regulations. The jobs merely relocated, and now they pay much lower wages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  56. grumpy realist says:

    @Spartacus: Also if you want to attract good STEM people to your company, you’re going to have to provide something else more than “hey, we pay less for you guys in this part of the country!”

    In order to convince an engineer to move from State X to State Y, it seems to me that [salary in State Y - cost of living in State Y] >> [salary in State X -cost of living in State X], otherwise why bother?

    (I was just interviewing for a position in Las Vegas and they were freaking out at my salary requirements. I was pointing out that if you wanted to get me to move away from Chicago, you’d better give me a damn good reason and experience patent AGENTS are getting jobs in the $90K range, let alone what patent lawyers are getting here…)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. rudderpedals says:

    @grumpy realist: It’s rationalized in Fla as vacation pay since you’re at a vacation destination. Similar logic prevails all through the sunbelt. A bit of pay in accordance with your vacation destination state coupled with lower cost of living and you’re left with bupkis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0