The Spectacle Blog

The Limits of Conservative Ratings

By on 2.16.12 | 1:05PM

Not to nitpick Quin, but the Ron Paul fans can still criticize Rick Santorum's record: while both candidates' National Taxpayer Union ratings were good, Paul's were higher than Santorum's. Paul has also never ranked lower than 10 while Santorum has ranked as low as 33. Paul ranked first four years in a row while Santorum never ranked higher than third.

That being said, these ratings have their limits. (I say that even though NTU is one of the more discriminating.) Take a look at Santorum's: he gets basically the same rating when Republicans were trying to restrain the growth of Medicare spending (with Santorum's vote) as he did when Republicans were approving a massive unfunded new entitlement in the form of Medicare Part D (also with Santorum's vote). His grade is barely higher when Republicans were reforming welfare and cutting farm subsidies than when they were increasing non-defense discretionary spending at the fastest rate in years. (It should be noted the 2002 farm bill was one piece of Bush-era big government Santorum voted against.)

Simply put, there is something screwy about ratings that don't make these distinctions. The Club for Growth strikes me as pretty fair in its assessments of the candidates' records.

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