Step right up, everybody, and meet the most conservative folks in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The rankings come thanks to the National Journal, which annually lists the most liberal and most conservative legislators based on their votes during each congressional session. This week, it released the 2012 rankings for senators and representatives. The list is calculated based solely on roll call votes, which, as some have pointed out, leaves the rankings grounded in politics and not ideology.
But it’s a start, and we’ll now explain the faces behind the rankings.
1. Todd Akin, Missouri’s 2nd District, 2001–2013
Well, no real surprise here. Although it’s his voting record that puts him in the No. 1 spot, it’s the gaffes that make Todd Akin a real winner. Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment — implying women can’t get pregnant from rape because the body “has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” — pretty much immediately toppled his run for U.S. Senate. He also once called abortion-providers “terrorists,” equated liberalism to a “hatred of God” and voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because, as he put it, “I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom.”
But Todd Akin is no longer crafting our laws because he lost his race for the Senate. Nice knowin’ you, buddy!
2. Austin Scott, Georgia’s 8th District, 2011–present
A tea party darling, Austin Scott was president of the GOP freshman class in the 112th Congress. As a state legislator who was first elected at the ripe old age of 26, Scott voted to make English the official language of Georiga and to seize vehicles from undocumented immigrants when they get a ticket. He also proposed dismantling the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority and getting rid of tolls on State Route 400 … I mean, why should taxpayers be paying for things they use, amiright?
The first bill he introduced as a U.S. representative, in 2011, sought to repeal the Legal Services Cooperation Act, a 1974 law that provides legal assistance to the poor. The Washington Post noted that repealing this service would affect low-income people, women seeking orders against abusive partners and homeowners fighting against foreclosure. Scott told The Post, “We are at a point where Congress must look at programs and ask, ‘Is this absolutely necessary?’”
Scott reintroduced that legislation early this year after it fizzled out in 2011.
Scott also co-sponsored a bill that limits federal funding to any organization that provides abortions and voted yes on Paul Ryan’s budget — you know, the one that would replace Medicare with a voucher system. So even though Scott’s a relatively fresh face on Capitol Hill, he’s definitely making his conservative mark.
3. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee’s 7th District, 2003–present
Her voting record landed her on the top 25 list — one of only two women on the list — but Marsha Blackburn’s other actions support her ultra-conservative designation. She was on the committee that crafted the 2012 Republican Party platform, which was deemed the most conservative in modern history. The platform sought to ban abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. It also condemned “social experimentation” in the military — which is code for no women or gays — and was rife with anti-gay rhetoric.
But since the 2012 election results, Blackburn has been the voice behind the push to rename the GOP to “Great Opportunity Party” or “Government of the People Party.” Blackburn told MSNBC that it’s not the message that’s wrong, it’s the messenger. “We have a good solid philosophical core, we have the right set of principles. Sometimes how we communicate the message gets a little bit muddled.”
As a state senator, Blackburn was behind Tennesee’s famed tax revolt of 2000, and she was a labeled a “hero” against the implementation of a state income tax. And conservative organizations like Americans for Tax Reform and the Family Research Council consistently praise her actions.
So there you have it. The most conservative lawmakers in the U.S House of Representatives. Click here to see the entire list and also the lists for the most liberal House and Senate members.
Does your representative deserve to be on the list? Who do you think stands to be the most conservative for 2013? On “The War Room” tonight, watch as Christine Pelosi of the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus discusses the rankings of the most conservative U.S. senators.