The Conscience of a Conservative: Part I Notes

Image result for Barry Goldwater

Notes on The Conscience of a Conservative

Ever since I read that the former conservative Max Boot never actually read The Conscience of a Conservative until he decided to break with the movement, I figure I should do so myself. After all, it is regarded as one of the most influential books on American conservative thought. While the ideas in the book fully reflect Goldwater’s views, it was ghostwritten by National Review’s Brent Bozell, a brilliant but personally troubled speechwriter for both him and Joseph McCarthy. The book is nearing sixty years old now, but much of what is written remains current to the state of ideology and government in America. I have long considered myself a “Goldwater conservative”, and after reading this book I am more convinced of it than ever. This post consists of my reactions to this book. I will refer to Goldwater throughout rather than Bozell as the book was under his name and text references will be marked by page number alone, as this book is the only work I am citing.


Goldwater defines conservatism thusly, “The Conservative approach is nothing more or less than an attempt to apply the wisdom and experience and the revealed truths of the past to the problems of today”. As a conservative, this is part of why I study history on my own time.

Chapter 1: The Conscience of a Conservative:

Goldwater notes, “I have been much concerned that so many people today with Conservative instincts feel compelled to apologize for them. Or if not to apologize directly, to qualify their commitment in a way that amounts to breast-beating” (9). I feel that way in California!

Part of why conservatism gets looked on badly seems to be the faulty messaging of its advocates according to Goldwater, and that such labeling of themselves implies that “ordinary” conservatism opposes progress. The messaging still has difficulties today, but this is in part due the way its opponents have managed to frame conservatism in the public mind.

Reading through this chapter so far it is striking how little has actually changed in the fundamentals of rhetoric. Goldwater’s take on the “radical camp”: “We liberals,” they say, “are interested in people. Our concern is with human beings, while you Conservatives are preoccupied with the preservation of economic privilege and status” (10). This is very much like the left thinks today, except the difference of course would be how many forms of “privilege” would be added here, namely “white”, “male”, and “cis”. The list I’m sure goes on in ways only the grand entrepreneurs of social thought on college campuses can think up! Goldwater turns this line of thinking on its head: it is Socialism that focuses on material well-being, not Conservatism, which is not in itself an economic theory, but economics is a part of the whole picture. Conservatives, Goldwater believes, “take account of the whole man, while the Liberals tend to look only at the material side of man’s nature” (10). For Conservatives, mankind has spiritual needs as well, and these cannot be satiated by wealth. In fact, he asserts, such needs are superior.

“In this approach, I believe they fight against Nature!” – Barry Goldwater on Liberal collectivism aiming to compel “progress”. I tend to think myself that adherents of the left don’t tend to be big fans of the concept of human nature, and quite a number of modern-day feminists (third wave) don’t strike me as fans of the concept of “mother nature”. Right after I write that, I read: “Surely the first obligation of a political thinker is to understand the nature of man” (11). Ding ding ding! Conservatism, for Goldwater, is an inherently historical viewpoint. A good conservative should take an interest if history, for if not, what is it they are basing their views from? What traditions are they defending and why? What wisdom motivates such a defense? History provides the “why” of conservatism.

“The Conservative knows that to regard man as part of an undifferentiated mass is to consign him to ultimate slavery” (12). There are just a lot of quotable lines in this book! Here’s another one: “man’s political freedom is illusory if he is dependent for his economic needs on the State” (12).

“Throughout history, true Conservatism (as in, Goldwater’s definition) has been at war equally with autocrats and with “democratic” Jacobins. The true Conservative was sympathetic with the plight of the hapless peasant under the tyranny of the French monarchy. And he was equally revolted at the attempt to solve that problem by a mob tyranny that paraded under the banner of egalitarianism” (13). If Goldwater’s definition is what true conservatism is, there are quite a number of people who label themselves conservative but don’t fit here in terms of attitude, I’m sorry to say.

Here’s another solid definition Goldwater offers: “…the Conservative looks upon politics as the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of social order” (13). Non-conservatives tend to classify conservatives as believing in the following, in this order: 1. Order, 2. Liberty, 3. Equality. I would either place liberty at #1 or at least make it a tie between #1 and #2. For me, anyway, liberty is #1. Goldwater’s definition at least implies an equality between order and freedom as values.

Next time I will cover Part 2: my notes on Chapters 2 and 3.

Pat McCarran: The Godfather of Nevada

If you fly to Las Vegas for a long weekend of drinking, partying, and gambling, you will arrive at its airport, McCarran International. Not many people focus on the name as they are interested in having a good time, but its named after a controversial figure in the state’s history who helped make the state become what it is and who was for a short period of time the Senate’s most powerful and influential member.

Early Career

A prominent lawyer in Nevada, Pat McCarran (1876-1954) often had a soft spot for sinners in his early career, representing bank robbers and abortionists. As a politician, however, he was never one to go along with the tides and crafted his own path. From 1913 until his defeat for reelection in 1918, McCarran was an associate justice of the Nevada Supreme Court, subsequently serving as President of the Nevada Bar Association and briefly as Vice President of the American Bar Association. Throughout the 1920s the state Democratic Party leadership, a group he managed to anger for his uncompromising maverick tendencies, managed to block him from gaining any positions of power and he was stuck in limbo. In 1926, McCarran attempted to gain the Democratic nomination for the Senate, but to no avail. However, the onset of the Great Depression brought about change in his fortunes.

The Rise of McCarran and His Policies

In 1932, popular incumbent Republican Senator Tasker Oddie was running for reelection, and the Democrats thought so little of their chances that none of their preferred people wanted to run. They permitted McCarran to be nominated, believing fully that he would lose. The 1932 election was better for Democrats than they thought, and he won in an upset. All those years in the political wilderness taught McCarran to be ruthless in his accumulation of power. He backed some of FDR’s New Deal legislation, particularly legislation that helped unions, but he also sometimes opposed. This, of course, didn’t endear Roosevelt to him. Although McCarran’s health was often precarious in the 1930s due to his obesity, he was still able to have legislative accomplishments, including the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, which regulated and fostered the development of the airline industry. He also advocated the separation of the Air Force from the Army and sponsored the Federal Airport Act of 1945, which provided grants to states and localities for airport construction. His legacy in this area of policy is one of the reasons that Las Vegas’s airport is named after McCarran.

By Serving in “Death Battalion”, McCarran Becomes Politically Invincible

In 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt, fresh from one of the most epic Electoral College victories in American history, had a lot of political capital and intended to spend it. At the start of the year, he proposed what was called the “court packing plan”. This plan would increase the number of justices from 9 to 15, which was in response to numerous decisions ruling New Deal legislation unconstitutional. Initially McCarran supported Roosevelt’s plan, but after talking with people in his state and reading his mail, he found his constituents were overwhelmingly against it. He turned against the plan as well.

On July 10, 1937, McCarran delivered a speech called the “Death Battalion” speech. Although this wasn’t his best or best delivered speech it was his most memorable and significant. McCarran’s health was still frail and he looked and sounded ill. Yet, he had gone to the Senate floor to speak against it, contrary to doctor’s orders. The most notable line in the speech was, “I think this cause in which we have enlisted, and in which I say without hesitancy we constitute a battalion of death, to the end that the Constitution of the Untied States shall prevail, is worthy of the effort” (Edwards, 78).

This speech resulted in laudatory headlines and press, including a headline from the Nevada State Journal: “McCarran in Death Battalion – Senator Ready to Give Life to Defend Constitution” and made him quite popular with not only Democrats, but Republicans as well (Edwards, 79). Although FDR tried to get him ousted in the primary, the effort didn’t go terribly far. This also wrecked former Senator Tasker Oddie’s chances at making a comeback. McCarran was now electorally unbeatable in Nevada and had only one major source of competition left for power in the state: Key Pittman.

Key Pittman and Pat McCarran didn’t get along well and actively competed for patronage, with McCarran often besting Pittman. Pittman was an establishment Democrat who had been in office since 1913 and carried some significance as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, but McCarran had a hunger for power that wasn’t to be satiated. Fortunately for McCarran, developments would soon allow him to gain much more.

McCarran Rules Nevada

On November 5, 1940, Key Pittman had won reelection, but what the voters weren’t aware of was that doctors had told his aides that his death was imminent. Just before the election, Pittman, who had issues with alcohol, had been on a drinking binge that caused a massive heart attack. Although he survived the heart attack itself, his heart was so badly damaged as a result that he was beyond recovery. Pittman died five days after he was reelected. With no more competition for patronage, McCarran consolidated power and became THE power of the state. He always remembered friends and foes alike, being sure to help his friends and, in equal measure, punish his foes.

In 1945, McCarran sponsored with Senator Homer Ferguson (R-Mich.) a bill exempting insurance from anti-trust laws while requiring states to regulate insurance. This law was recently amended so as to remove health insurance from the exemption list. In 1947, McCarran himself suffered a massive heart attack and his condition appeared so dire that oddsmakers in Vegas were betting 8 to 1 on his demise. Unfortunately for the gamblers as well as all those who abandoned McCarran at his time of peril, he recovered and managed to ruin the political careers of all the minions who left him in the seven more years he lived.

After Harry S. Truman winning a term in 1948, McCarran became the most powerful senator. He sponsored two major pieces of legislation that became law over Truman’s veto: The McCarran Internal Security Act and the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act. The former was a comprehensive anti-communist bill that included the communist registration provisions from the proposed Mundt-Nixon Bill and the latter was a bill that strengthened the national origins quota system, blocked people from immigrating based on communist ideology, and abolished race as a criterion for denial of citizenship.

While many people associate Joseph McCarthy with the anti-communism of the early 1950s, they don’t know that Pat McCarran was also launching investigations into communists in the government, and he was more careful and effective than McCarthy. McCarran counted himself as a supporter of McCarthy and had he been able to vote on his censure, he not only would have voted against, but he likely would have convinced some Democrats to join him as well.

McCarran and Foreign Policy

In the foreign policy debates in the two years preceding America’s involvement in World War II, McCarran was a consistent non-interventionist, voting against Lend Lease and repealing neutrality laws. He feared a bloodbath for American soldiers if they were to get involved in World War II. Although there may have been another, under the surface reasoning for his stance here, this will be covered a little later. McCarran remained a thorn in Democratic foreign policy under President Truman, as although he backed both the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, he insisted on his “Watchdog Committee”, which actively monitored Marshall Plan spending and more importantly, he stood against Truman on how to address a certain foreign leader: Francisco Franco. Franco could count McCarran among his personal friends and he fought for him receiving Marshall Plan aid to counteract communist influence. Truman personally despised Franco for his dictatorial rule of Spain as well as his pseudo-neutrality during World War II (he unofficially favored the Axis). But, McCarran ultimately got his way and Truman’s successor, Dwight Eisenhower, recognized Franco as an ally in the struggle against international communism.

McCarran and Prejudice

Although McCarran didn’t ever directly speak out against Jews, he was privately an anti-Semite, and such views influenced his perspective on immigration as well as federal nominations. On immigration, he was one of the leading opponents of legislation that would result in the United States taking in a significant number of Jewish refugees from Europe after World War II. He would invoke fears of influence from New York City in his campaigns but privately admitted that the purpose of such campaigning was to get people to worry about Jews without ever using the word. For federal nominations, when FDR nominated Jews, McCarran did his best to block them. No other connection appeared to exist between them aside from their Judaism. On civil rights for blacks, McCarran’s record was more mixed: he opposed legislation forming a permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee but voted against efforts to cripple Truman’s desegregation order for the U.S. Army.

The Casino Boycott – McCarran Throws His Weight Around Against Hank Greenspun

Hank Greenspun of the Las Vegas Sun was one of the few journalists, and the most prominent one in the state, to be anti-McCarran. In 1952, McCarran had finally had it with him after his favored candidate for the Democratic Senate nomination, Alan Bible, lost the Democratic primary. Soon the Las Vegas Sun was receiving calls from all but one of the major casino owners that they would no longer advertise in the paper. Greenspun investigated and found that they had all received calls from McCarran, who had been successful in keeping Washington off their backs. As casino owner and mobster Moe Dalitz put it to Greenspun, “You know as well as I that we have to do what he tells us. You know he got us our licenses. If we don’t go along, you know what will happen to us” (Newton, 152). He in turn sued McCarran and forty casino executives for conspiracy to ruin his newspaper and sought $1 million in damages. The case ended with Greenspun accepting a settlement of $80,500 in cash and an agreement that no more efforts would be made to influence editorial policy.

McCarran’s Pique = Loss of Power

Many at-risk Senate Republicans were up for reelection in 1952. One of them was McCarran’s colleague, George Malone. Although he sometimes gets quoted on the internet by people who profess to oppose globalism, his time in the Senate was most marked by his staunch cultural conservatism, his unwavering support of Senator Joseph McCarthy, and his remarkable ability to bore other senators to tears. Although McCarran was not particularly impressed with Malone, he was also not hostile to him, which couldn’t be said for the Democrat running against him. McCarran had groomed a successor in Alan Bible, but the Democratic voters were not having him. A staunchly anti-McCarran liberal Democrat, Thomas Mechling, managed to win the primary.

McCarran was so incensed by this repudiation that he surreptitiously aided the Malone campaign by lending his own staff to help him. The result was Malone’s victory while other vulnerable Republican senators who had been elected in 1946 such as James Kem of Missouri, Zales Ecton of Montana, and Harry Cain of Washington lost reelection. Republicans won control of the chamber in the 1952 election by…you guessed it…one vote! Although McCarran had eliminated a threat to his power in Mechling, he was now in the minority party. In 1954, he gave a speech that urged Democratic Party unity in the elections, but this was apparently too much for the fiercely independent 78-year old, who dropped dead of a heart attack right after finishing the speech. McCarran would ultimately get his way regarding his protégé: Alan Bible would serve in the Senate from 1954 to 1974. His lifetime MC-Index score was a 54%, with his most conservative period being after the 80th Congress.


It is true that Pat McCarran was instrumental in the development of modern-day Nevada as well as the airline industry and was without doubt the state’s most significant legislator of the 20th century. But, it is also true that he isn’t representative of the values of modern-day Nevadans. Thus, the call for removing his name from Las Vegas’s airport. However, advocates for the removal of McCarran’s name on account of the controversial aspects of his legacy have something greater to overcome: the removal of his statue from the U.S. Capitol Hall of Statues, that have two figures from each state. McCarran’s is there along with that of Sarah Winnemucca, a Paiute author, activist, and educator.

Edit, 1/3/22: McCarran’s MC-Index score has been added and Key Pittman had served in the Senate since 1913, not 1917 as mistakenly written.


Edwards, J.E. (1982). Pat McCarran: Political Boss of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press.

Edwards, J. (2010, September 8). Patrick Anthony McCarran. Online Nevada Encyclopedia.

Retrieved from

Newton, M. (2007). Mr. Mob: The life and crimes of Moe Dalitz. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc.

The Controversies of Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1983, 15 years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, President Reagan signed into law the holiday commemorating his birth. Today, his approval stands at over 90% in the most recent Gallup polling. However, he was not always so popular. The establishment of the holiday, for instance, was itself a controversy. Lawmakers who opposed primarily did so out of opposition to a new federal holiday. However, a few, such as Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), a former segregationist radio commentator, went further by invoking the personal controversies of Dr. King. President Reagan himself had reservations about the holiday, but signed it after the Senate passed it by a veto-proof margin. He was even more controversial in the 1960s than when the holiday was signed into law. A 1966 Gallup poll found that King had a 32% approval vs. 63% disapproval (Newport, 2006). This was after he focused his attention on civil rights issues outside of the South and urban rioting had picked up.

King a Communist?

A common charge leveled against King during his lifetime primarily by Southern whites and the John Birch Society was that King was a communist. They would cite a photo of him at a “communist training school” as evidence. This was a misrepresentation of the Highlander Folk School, a social justice institution run by socialist Myles Horton. King himself stated his support for nationalizing businesses in letters to Coretta Scott in 1952. However, Reverend King falls short of communism on account of his religiosity. He condemned communism as “godless” and immoral. What’s more, communism comes about through violent revolution, and King preached and practiced non-violence. His detractors also would cite his connections to people such as civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, a gay pacifist who had briefly been involved in the Young Communist League (he left in 1941), and attorney Stanley Levison, who had served as a financial coordinator for CPUSA in the early 1950s and had apparently ended his affiliation with them by 1957. Levison was a point of concern for the FBI, and J. Edgar Hoover believed that he would manipulate King into embracing communist ends.

The truth about King was that he was a socialist, not a communist. His associations with people who had been Communists or affiliated with the Communist Party was part of his willingness to work with anyone if they could further his goals, and this included Vice President Richard Nixon, who had supported a strong voting rights bill in 1957.

King a Republican?

One of the more common historical controversies about King involve his alleged Republicanism. This is often based on the line “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”, which is widely viewed by conservatives as logically inconsistent with affirmative action. Thus, this time of the year some conservative activists will take to claiming that he was a Republican. This one only has a kernel of truth: his father, Martin Sr., was a Republican until 1960, when he endorsed John F. Kennedy. King was neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but as I noted in the section of “King a Communist?”, his views on economics were socialist and his views on the federal government expansive, making him a distinctly poor fit for the Republican Party. His planned Poor People’s March in 1968 would have aimed to pressure Congress into allocating much more effort into anti-poverty legislation. Republicans would not have backed this as they had voted against LBJ’s Economic Opportunity Act in 1964. The previous year, he advocated for a fundamental change in American society: “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered” (Berman, 2013).

Martin Luther King Jr. was neither a conservative nor a Republican. He was a socialist, but now he is America’s favorite socialist. Historically, those who claim King was a Republican would be much better off making the case for Frederick Douglass or Booker T. Washington as black conservatives.

King and Vietnam

Towards the end of his life, Dr. King’s relations with the White House had soured, and Vietnam was the reason why. In 1967, he came out against the war and was not diplomatic in his criticism: he went as far as to compare the tactics of the U.S. Army to those of the Nazis. This outraged Americans of many political stripes and was a significant factor in his loss of popularity. Time called his anti-war speech “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi” (Berman, 2013). Although many Americans would come to share King’s criticisms of the Vietnam War, they objected to the Nazi comparison strongly.

Adultery and Plagiarism

Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t perfect and this makes him human. King indeed carried on extramarital affairs as he was a charming man who was always polite around women. His status as a hero in the black community also attracted women to him. However, contrary to some claims, he didn’t carry on relations with white prostitutes and occasionally beat them. For plagiarism, after his death Boston University investigated claims that he had plagiarized his doctoral dissertation and found in 1991 that he had done so for parts of it. However, it is not true that “I Have a Dream” was plagiarized from a speech by black pastor Archibald Carey at the 1952 Republican Convention. There were similarities in portions, but the content of the speech was much different.


The purpose of this post is not to denigrate King. It is to bring reality to a revered man. Make no mistake, what he achieved was tremendous and people are right to identify him as a hero for the civil rights cause. What King provided was the grassroots efforts to pressure America and Washington to reevaluate how they looked at race and to get strong legislation passed to end the Jim Crow system. His efforts at reforming the North via housing were significantly less popular as was his uncompromising view against the Vietnam War, his moralistic view of economics, and his belief in expanding the federal government even further for the poor. Americans choose to remember King for his greatest accomplishments in civil rights, but they people forget the other, more controversial aspects of his legacy on matters that continue to divide us today.


Berman, M. (2013, August 28). The Forgotten Martin Luther King: A Radical Leftist. The Atlantic.

Retrieved from

Dupuy, B. (2018, January 15). Most Americans Didn’t Approve of Martin Luther King Jr. Before His Death, Polls Show. Newsweek.

Retrieved from

Fact Check: Four Things About King. Snopes.

Retrieved from

Newport, F. (2006, January 16). Martin Luther King Jr.: Revered More After Death Than Before. Gallup News Service.

Retrieved from



Hot Button Social Issues…From 100 Years Ago

Image result for suffrage prohibition

This year marks the 100th anniversary of when the Suffrage Amendment passed Congress, prohibiting the denial of suffrage on the basis of sex. The hot button social issues of 100 years ago were women’s suffrage and prohibition. Both sides of these issues attracted people on the American right and left in the day.

I have divided legislators into four categories:

Group 1: Reformers

The reformers supported both suffrage and prohibition. They rode the wave of political popularity in their day. Some likely would not have backed the positions they did had it not been for tremendous political pressure effectively employed by suffragettes and the Anti-Saloon League. Senator Warren G. Harding (R-Ohio) was a member of this group.

Group 2: Traditional Moralists

This group of legislators consisted mostly of Southern Democrats. They supported prohibition but opposed suffrage. This group professed belief in the evil of alcohol and that a woman’s place was not in politics. As much as they may have claimed “state’s rights” was their stance, they made a clear exception for Prohibition. Some legislators who played significant roles in the future who fell into this group were: future Speakers of the House William Bankhead (D-Ala.) and Sam Rayburn (D-Tex.) as well as future Secretary of State Cordell Hull (D-Tenn.).

Group 3: State’s Rights Advocates

This group of legislators opposed both prohibition and suffrage amendments. Although I don’t doubt that many of them believed that a woman’s place was in the home, they at least were consistent when they invoked state’s rights. Some of the opponents of the amendment supported its implementation in their own states, such as Rep. James Heflin (D-Ala.), who was proud that his district was dry but wanted to let the issue remain a state question. This group consisted of a minority of both Democrats and Republicans. Some prominent representatives of this group included Senators Henry Cabot Lodge (R-Mass.) and Oscar Underwood (D-Ala.), who led their parties in the Senate.

Group 4: Contemporary Thinkers

This group of legislators took the side of the consensus position of today. This group was a minority of Democrats and Republicans and included the Socialist London Meyer of New York and often represented urban areas.

With this sheet of votes, I have also included ratings from Mike’s Conservative Index. You read that correctly, I rated Congress from over 100 years ago. These votes occurred in the 65th Congress, with suffrage narrowly failing in the Senate in 1918. It would pass the following year. The reason I include the 1918 votes is so that you can see how the same crop of legislators voted on these issues. The meanings on this spreadsheet below are the same they were for the votes on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 I posted some posts ago.


1. Prohibition Amendment

Adopted 65-20: D 36-12; R 29-8, 8/1/17.

2. Women’s Suffrage Amendment

Failed 53-31: D 26-21; R 27-10, 9/30/18.


1. Prohibition Amendment

Adopted 282-128: D 140-64; R 138-62; P 2-1; Proh. 1-0; S 0-1; I 1-0, 12/17/17.

2. Women’s Suffrage Amendment

Adopted 272-136: D 103-101; R 164-34; P 2-1; Proh. 1-0; S 1-0; I 1-0, 1/10/18.


1 2 MC-Index 1 2 MC-Index
Bankhead D Y N 25 Hitchcock D N N 64
Underwood D N N 50 Norris R Y Y 45
Ashurst D Y Y 0 Newlands D Y 50
Smith D Y Y 13 Henderson D Y 0
ARKANSAS Pittman D Y Y 17
Robinson D Y Y 8 Hollis D Y 0
CALIFORNIA Gallinger R 100
Phelan D N Y 9 Drew R N NR
Johnson R Y 53 NEW JERSEY
COLORADO Hughes D ? 0
Shafroth D Y Y 12 Baird R N 100
Thomas D Y 40 Frelinghuysen R Y 89
Brandegee R N N 100 Jones D Y N 25
McLean R X N 60 Fall R 60
Saulsbury D Y N 21 Calder R N Y 92
Wolcott D Y N 36 Wadsworth R N N 100
Fletcher D Y N 25 Overman D Y N 27
Trammell D Y N 0 Simmons D Y N 18
Hardwick D N N 50 Gronna R Y Y 38
Smith D Y N 33 McCumber R Y Y 62
Borah R Y X 47 Pomerene D N N 29
Brady R Y 43 Harding R Y 92
Nugent D Y 29 OKLAHOMA
Lewis D N Y 38 Owen D Y Y 0
Sherman R Y 86 OREGON
INDIANA Chamberlain D Y Y 50
New R Y Y 93 McNary R Y Y 33
IOWA Knox R Y X 92
Cummins R Y Y 64 Penrose R N N 100
KANSAS Gerry D N Y 38
Thompson D Y Y 0 Colt R Y Y 38
Beckham D Y X 7 Tillman D 25
James D N Y 33 Bennet D N NR
Broussard D N 33 Johnson D Y 8
Guion D N 0 Sterling R Y Y 62
Ransdell D Y Y 7 TENNESSEE
MAINE McKellar D Y Y 13
Fernald R Y Y 82 Shields D Y N 18
Hale R Y N 92 TEXAS
MARYLAND Culberson D N Y 11
Smith D ? N 43 Sheppard D Y Y 0
France R N Y 94 UTAH
Lodge R N N 93 Smoot R Y Y 88
Weeks R N N 100 VERMONT
MICHIGAN Dillingham R N 92
Smith R Y Y 80 Page R Y Y 88
Townsend R Y 69 VIRGINIA
Kellogg R Y Y 70 Swanson D Y X 21
Vardaman D Y Y 27 Poindexter R Y Y 13
Reed D N N 38 Sutherland R Y Y 79
Wilfley D 25 Husting D N Y 0
MONTANA La Follette R Y Y 10
Walsh D Y Y 30 Kendrick D Y Y 30
Warren R N Y 78
1 2 MC-Index 1 2 MC-Index
1 Gray D N N 14 1 Burroughs R Y Y 100
2 Dent D N N 22 2 Wason R Y Y 100
3 Steagall D Y N 12 NEW JERSEY
4 Blackmon D N N 25 1 Browning R Y N 93
5 Heflin D N N 12 2 Bacharach R N Y 83
6 Oliver D Y Y 7 3 Scully D X Y 63
7 Burnett D Y N 24 4 Hutchinson R N Y 91
8 Almon D Y N 14 5 Capstick R ? ? NR
9 Huddleston D N N 20 6 Ramsey R N N 90
10 Bankhead D Y N 23 7 Drukker R N X 50
ARIZONA 8 Gray R N N 90
AL Hayden D Y Y 12 9 Parker R N N 94
ARKANSAS 10 Lehlbach R N Y 91
1 Caraway D Y Y 14 11 Eagan D N Y 43
2 Oldfield D Y Y 7 12 Hamill D N Y 12
3 Tillman D Y Y 13 NEW MEXICO
4 Wingo D Y Y 0 AL Walton D Y Y 19
5 Jacoway D Y Y 7 NEW YORK
6 Taylor D Y Y 24 1 Hicks R Y Y 91
7 Goodwin D Y 7 2 Caldwell D N Y 20
1 Lea D N Y 15 4 Dale D N Y 11
2 Raker D Y Y 12 5 Maher D N Y 33
3 Curry R X 63 6 Rowe R Y Y 92
4 Kahn R N Y 100 7 Fitzgerald D N 50
5 Nolan R N Y 38 8 Griffin D N NR
6 Elston R Y Y 50 9 Swift R N Y 64
7 Church D N Y 30 10 Haskell R N Y 58
8 Hayes R ? Y 100 11 Riordan D N N 25
9 Randall PR Y Y 23 12 London S N Y 33
10 Osborne R Y Y 75 13 Sullivan D N Y 17
11 Kettner D Y Y 14 14 LaGuardia R X 40
COLORADO 15 Smith D N Y 25
1 Hilliard D Y Y 21 16 Dooling D N Y 14
2 Timberlake R Y Y 76 17 Carew D N Y 38
3 Keating D Y Y 27 18 Francis R N Y 75
4 Taylor D Y 21 19 Chandler R N Y 75
CONNECTICUT 20 Siegel R N Y 38
1 Lonergan D N N 29 21 Hulbert D N 20
2 Freeman R N Y 79 22 Bruckner D N 0
3 Tilson R N N 100 23 Oliver D N Y 15
4 Merritt R N Y 100 24 Fairchild, B. R N Y 53
5 Glynn R N Y 88 25 Husted R ? Y 100
DELAWARE 26 Platt R Y Y 93
AL Polk D Y N 30 27 Ward R N Y 89
FLORIDA 28 Sanford R N Y 82
1 Drane D Y Y 14 29 Parker R Y Y 80
2 Clark D Y Y 20 30 Lunn D Y Y 15
3 Kehoe D Y N 8 31 Snell R Y Y 89
AL Sears D Y Y 25 32 Mott R Y Y 67
GEORGIA 33 Snyder R N Y 90
1 Overstreet D Y N 29 34 Fairchild, G. R 75
2 Park D Y N 18 25 Magee R N Y 87
3 Crisp D Y N 29 26 Gould R Y N 93
4 Adamson D Y N 17 37 Pratt R Y Y 80
5 Howard D Y N 25 38 Dunn R Y X 88
6 Wise D Y N 11 39 Sanders R Y N 67
7 Lee D Y N 9 40 Dempsey R Y Y 86
8 Brand D Y N 27 41 Smith D N Y 31
9 Bell D Y N 29 42 Waldow R N Y 53
10 Vinson D Y N 27 43 Hamilton R Y Y 50
12 Larsen D Y N 29 1 Small D N N 36
IDAHO 2 Kitchin D Y N 27
1 French R Y Y 38 3 Hood D Y ? 0
2 Smith R Y Y 53 4 Pou D N N 33
ILLINOIS 5 Stedman D Y N 7
1 Madden R N Y 94 6 Godwin D Y N 30
2 Mann R ? Y 100 7 Robinson D Y N 8
3 Wilson R Y Y 82 8 Doughton D Y N 13
4 Vacancy 9 Webb D Y N 17
5 Sabath D N Y 9 10 Weaver D Y Y 12
6 McAndrews D N Y 31 NORTH DAKOTA
7 Juul R N Y 70 1 Baer R Y Y 44
8 Gallagher D N Y 42 2 Young R Y Y 47
9 Britten R N Y 90 3 Norton R Y Y 62
10 Foss R Y Y 100 OHIO
11 Copley R Y Y 25 1 Longworth R N N 91
12 Fuller R Y Y 78 2 Heintz R ? ? 60
13 McKenzie R Y Y 100 3 Gard D N N 20
14 Graham R Y Y 60 4 Welty D N N 35
15 King R Y Y 31 5 Snook D Y N 54
16 Ireland R Y ? 77 6 Kearns R Y N 73
17 Sterling R Y Y 100 7 Fess R Y Y 90
18 Cannon R Y Y 100 8 Key D N N 27
19 McKinley R Y Y 71 9 Sherwood D N Y 23
20 Rainey D Y Y 23 10 Switzer R Y N 73
21 Wheeler R Y Y 56 11 Claypool D Y N 29
22 Rodenberg R N Y 57 12 Brumbaugh D Y Y 29
23 Foster D Y Y 21 13 Overmyer D N N 31
24 Williams R Y Y 77 14 Bathrick D ? 20
25 Denison R Y Y 63 15 White D Y N 22
AL Mason R ? Y 86 16 McCulloch R Y Y 70
AL McCormick R Y Y 75 17 Ashbrook D Y N 31
INDIANA 18 Hollingsworth R Y Y 80
1 Denton D Y Y 14 19 Cooper R Y Y 82
2 Bland R Y Y 67 20 Gordon D N N 38
3 Cox D Y Y 38 21 Crosser D N Y 27
4 Dixon D Y Y 24 22 Emerson R Y Y 50
5 Sanders R Y Y 88 OKLAHOMA
6 Elliott R Y Y 100 1 Chandler R Y 82
7 Moores R Y Y 87 2 Hastings D Y Y 12
8 Vestal R Y Y 81 3 Carter D Y Y 13
9 Purnell R Y Y 79 4 McKeown D Y Y 13
10 Wood R Y Y 86 5 Thompson D Y Y 20
11 Kraus R Y Y 80 6 Ferris D Y Y 15
12 Fairfield R Y Y 87 7 McClintic D Y Y 31
13 Barnhart D Y Y 23 8 Morgan R Y Y 29
1 Kennedy R Y Y 71 1 Hawley R Y Y 57
2 Hull R N N 56 2 Sinnott R Y Y 53
3 Sweet R Y Y 71 3 MacArthur R N Y 79
5 Good R Y Y 87 1 Vare R N Y 86
6 Ramseyer R Y Y 59 2 Graham R N ? 88
7 Dowell R Y Y 43 3 Moore R N N 94
8 Towner R Y Y 80 4 Edmonds R N Y 75
9 Green R Y Y 93 5 Costello R Y Y 75
10 Woods R Y Y 73 6 Darrow R Y Y 93
11 Scott R Y Y 71 7 Butler R Y Y 73
KANSAS 8 Watson R N N 91
1 Anthony R Y Y 89 9 Griest R Y Y 67
2 Little R Y Y 23 10 Farr R Y Y 43
3 Campbell R Y Y 86 11 Templeton R N Y 50
4 Doolittle D Y Y 33 12 Heaton R N N 25
5 Helvering D Y Y 20 13 Dewalt D N N 27
6 Connelly D Y Y 17 14 McFadden R Y Y 92
7 Shouse D Y Y 25 15 Kiess R Y Y 57
8 Ayres D Y Y 13 16 Lesher D N N 15
KENTUCKY 17 Focht R Y N 79
1 Barkley D Y Y 8 18 Kreider R Y N 67
2 Kincheloe D Y N 27 19 Rose R Y Y 86
3 Thomas D Y Y 18 20 Brodbeck D Y Y 21
4 Johnson D Y Y 0 21 Rowland R Y Y 100
5 Sherley D N N 60 22 Robbins R Y Y 73
6 Rouse D N N 33 23 Sterling D Y Y 56
7 Cantrill D N Y 0 24 Temple R Y Y 92
8 Helm D Y N 41 25 Clark R N N 75
9 Fields D Y Y 10 26 Steele D N N 17
10 Langley R Y Y 62 27 Strong R Y Y 75
11 Powers R Y Y 83 28 Beshlin D Y Y 25
LOUISIANA 29 Porter R N Y 33
1 Estopinal D N N 0 30 Kelly P Y Y 42
2 Dupre D N N 47 31 Morin R N N 56
3 Broussard D N N 36 32 Campbell D N Y 30
4 Watkins D Y N 7 AL McLaughlin R N N 89
5 Wilson D Y N 23 AL Garland R N N 67
6 Sanders D Y N 10 AL Scott R N Y 75
7 Lazaro D N N 13 AL Crago R N N 80
MAINE 1 O’Shaunessy D N Y 25
1 Goodall R Y Y 90 2 Stiness R Y Y 80
2 White R Y Y 67 3 Kennedy R N Y 60
4 Hersey R Y Y 76 1 Whaley D Y N 0
MARYLAND 2 Byrnes D Y N 23
1 Price D Y N 14 3 Dominick D N N 18
2 Talbott D N N 11 4 Nicholls D Y N 23
3 Coady D N N 33 5 Stevenson D Y N 36
4 Linthicum D N Y 14 6 Ragsdale D Y N 13
5 Mudd R N N 73 7 Lever D Y N 15
6 Zihlman R Y Y 64 SOUTH DAKOTA
1 Treadway R Y Y 93 2 Johnson R Y 80
2 Gillett R N N 100 3 Gandy D Y Y 25
3 Paige R Y N 89 TENNESSEE
4 Winslow R N N 100 1 Sells R Y Y 75
5 Rogers R ? Y 93 2 Austin R Y Y 62
6 Lufkin R N N 100 3 Moon D Y N 13
7 Phelan D N Y 33 4 Hull D Y N 13
8 Dallinger R Y N 82 5 Houston D Y N 18
9 Fuller I Y Y 57 6 Byrns D Y Y 15
10 Tague D X N 45 7 Padgett D Y X 0
11 Tinkham R ? N 92 8 Sims D Y Y 0
12 Gallivan D X Y 43 9 Garrett D Y N 33
13 Carter R Y Y 100 10 Fisher D Y Y 13
14 Olney D Y N 33 TEXAS
15 Greene R N N 75 1 Black D Y N 50
16 Walsh R N N 94 2 Dies D N N 25
MICHIGAN 3 Young D Y N 15
1 Doremus D N N 0 4 Rayburn D Y N 36
2 Beakes D Y Y 0 5 Sumners D Y Y 8
3 Smith R Y Y 50 6 Hardy D N N 23
4 Hamilton R Y Y 80 7 Gregg D Y Y 10
5 Mapes R Y Y 50 8 Eagle D ? N 9
6 Kelley R Y Y 88 9 Mansfield D N N 31
7 Cramton R Y Y 75 10 Buchanan D Y ? 43
8 Fordney R Y Y 90 11 Connally D Y Y 27
9 McLaughlin R Y Y 75 12 Wilson D N N 29
10 Currie R Y Y 91 13 Jones D Y Y 25
11 Scott R Y Y 85 14 Slayden D N N 62
12 James R Y Y 33 15 Garner D N N 50
13 Nichols R N Y 58 16 Blanton D ? Y 25
MINNESOTA AL Garrett D Y ? 0
1 Anderson R Y Y 56 AL McLemore D N N 40
2 Ellsworth R Y Y 81 UTAH
3 Davis R N Y 60 1 Welling D Y Y 36
4 Van Dyke D N Y 23 2 Mays D Y Y 9
5 Lundeen R Y Y 54 VERMONT
6 Knutson R Y Y 59 1 Greene R N N 93
7 Volstead R Y Y 67 2 Dale R Y Y 92
8 Miller R Y Y 90 VIRGINIA
9 Steenerson R Y Y 69 1 Jones D Y N 14
10 Schall P Y Y 60 1 Bland D 50
MISSISSIPPI 2 Holland D Y X 20
1 Candler D Y N 7 3 Montague D Y N 31
2 Stephens D Y N 19 4 Watson D Y N 43
3 Humphreys D Y N 33 5 Saunders D Y N 42
4 Sisson D Y N 50 6 Glass D Y N 27
5 Venable D Y N 14 7 Harrison D Y N 46
6 Harrison D Y N 0 8 Carlin D Y N 13
7 Quin D Y N 6 9 Slemp R Y Y 89
8 Collier D Y N 20 10 Flood D Y N 31
1 Romjue D Y Y 18 1 Miller R 50
2 Rucker D Y Y 15 2 Hadley R Y Y 63
3 Alexander D Y Y 7 2 Johnson R Y Y 64
4 Booher D Y Y 7 4 La Follette R Y Y 65
5 Borland D Y Y 44 5 Dill D Y Y 31
6 Dickinson D Y Y 0 WEST VIRGINIA
7 Hamlin D Y Y 7 1 Neely D Y 9
8 Shackleford D Y Y 10 2 Bowers R Y Y 55
9 Clark D 3 Reed R Y 81
10 Meeker R N N 86 4 Woodyard R Y Y 73
11 Igoe D N Y 12 5 Cooper R Y X 77
12 Dyer R N Y 79 6 Littlepage D Y Y 18
13 Hensley D Y Y 7 WISCONSIN
14 Russell D Y Y 17 1 Cooper R Y Y 31
15 Decker D Y Y 18 2 Voigt R N N 62
16 Rubey D Y Y 7 3 Nelson R Y Y 50
MONTANA 4 Cary R N ? 33
AL Evans D Y Y 23 5 Stafford R N N 87
AL Rankin R Y ? 46 6 Davidson R N Y 56
NEBRASKA 7 Esch R Y Y 56
1 Reavis R Y Y 70 8 Browne R Y Y 64
2 Lobeck D Y Y 36 9 Classon R N Y 54
3 Stephens D Y 43 10 Frear R Y Y 70
4 Sloan R Y Y 85 11 Lenroot R Y Y 86
5 Shallenberger D Y Y 13 WYOMING
6 Kinkaid R Y Y 69 AL Mondell R Y Y 92
AL Roberts R N Y 36




Florence Kahn, Mary Norton, and Edith Rogers: The First Career Congresswomen

I’m aware that Women’s History Month is in March, but this doesn’t stop me from covering the role of women in history at other times of the year. Although the first woman to serve in Congress was Jeanette Rankin of Montana, she served only two terms, and the second term was over twenty years after her first. Her greatest distinction, aside from being the first woman to serve, was that as a pacifist she voted against involvement in both world wars. Today’s post covers the first women who made serving in the House more than a one-time venture or merely succeeding their late husbands for the remainder of the term. All three have significant accomplishments in Congress ranging from funding the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge to the establishment of the federal minimum wage.

Florence Kahn (1866-1948) of San Francisco was the wife of Republican Congressman Julius Kahn, who had served for over twenty years beforehand and was notable for authoring a law that made Chinese exclusion from immigration permanent (it was repealed in 1943). However, by 1924, Julius was very ill and by the end of the year he was dead. Florence succeeded him and became known for her wit, support of conservative causes, and support for increasing the war preparedness of the United States. An example of such wit was when she was criticized by progressive Fiorello LaGuardia (R-N.Y.) for her support of the stances of ultra-conservative Senator George Moses (R-N.H.), and in response, Kahn, who was Jewish, responded “Why shouldn’t I choose Moses as my leader? Haven’t my people been following him for ages?” which elicited laughter throughout the House, including LaGuardia, whose mother was Jewish (Stone, 126).

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Although she was assigned to the Indian Affairs Committee when she had none in her district, Kahn nonetheless committed herself to working on their issues. She was a strong supporter of funding for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which won her praise from Director J. Edgar Hoover who dubbed her “the mother of the FBI” and would serve as a pallbearer at her funeral (Stone, 127). Kahn also succeeded in securing funding for the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate bridges. By the 1930s, her conservatism manifested in opposition to most of the New Deal, resulting in her losing popularity in San Francisco. In 1936, she lost reelection to Franck Havenner, who ran on the Progressive and Democratic Party tickets.

Mary Norton (1875-1959) of Jersey City was the first Democratic woman to run for Congress without having succeeded her husband and the first to be elected from New Jersey. Her career was actively and staunchly supported by her mentor, Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague, the political boss of the southern half of New Jersey. Norton stood as a reliable liberal internationalist and overall a faithful supporter of the New Deal as well as loyal to Hague.

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In 1932, she was selected to head the Democratic Party in New Jersey and in 1944 became a member of the Democratic National Committee. Norton perhaps has the most lasting legislative impact of the three women, since as chair of the House Labor Committee, she sponsored the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established a federal minimum wage. She also played a significant role in the passage of the Social Security Act. Norton also stood as a strong advocate of unions and of women’s rights and stood as a model. However, as a Catholic, she opposed the 1931 Gillett Bill, which would have provided federal funding for the dissemination of birth control information. Compared to today’s political and social environment, this seems a tame proposal. Norton also opposed the Equal Rights Amendment because hard-fought labor protections for women would be removed. Norton, at 75 years old, opted for retirement in 1950.

Edith Rogers (1881-1960) of Lowell, Massachusetts, was preceded in Congress by her husband, John Jacob Rogers, who had been elected in 1912. Edith was deeply involved in her husband’s campaigns and served as his political advisor. She also volunteered for the YMCA, Red Cross, and at Walter Reed Hospital. This experience led President Harding to appoint her his personal representative to visit veterans and military hospitals. Sadly, John Rogers developed cancer and died in 1925, aged only 43. She took over where her husband left off, and instead of stepping aside after finishing her husband’s term as many Congressional wives did, she forged a career of her own. In office, Rogers opted to de-emphasize her role as a woman, choosing to be regarded as another member of Congress who just happened to be a woman. During FDR’s first term, Rogers staunchly opposed the New Deal, voting against practically all of the First 100 Days legislation, but moderated after 1936. She also had mixed views on foreign policy: while she voted for a peacetime draft as well as repealing the Neutrality Acts, she voted against Lend-Lease, regarding it as a provocation to war. In 1939, she was the House sponsor of the Wagner-Rogers Bill, which, had it been adopted, would have taken in Jewish refugees. Her most significant legislative accomplishment was, with Veterans Committee chair John Rankin (D-Miss.), the GI Bill, which provided federal funding for four years of college education for returning soldiers. Rogers stood as an advocate of veterans and in 1949 joined Rankin in support of a veteran pension bill opposed by the Truman Administration.

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Rogers proved strongly supportive of anti-communist legislation and of the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations. She also never failed to vote for anti-subversive legislation. In the 1950s, Rogers called for kicking the UN headquarters out of New York City if Red China was admitted. However, this period saw a significant shift in her ideology: in 1949, the liberal lobbying group Americans for Democratic Action scored her a 0, but in 1960 she scored an 89. Rogers had shifted from the conservative to the liberal wing of the Republican Party. She was one of the Republicans who had changed numerous views after the election of Dwight Eisenhower, with the most notable change in her record being on public housing. In 1949, she had voted against the Taft-Ellender-Wagner Housing Bill, which included public housing, but after 1952 she regularly voted to increase public housing. It is quite possible that her district and the shifting political affiliation of Massachusetts overall contributed to this and other changes. Although she had won renomination in 1960, Rogers died of heart failure two months before the election.


Edith Nourse Rogers. Encyclopedia Britannica.

Retrieved from

Mary Teresa Norton, 1875-1959. New Jersey City University.

Retrieved from

Stone, K.F. (2011). The Jews of Capitol Hill: A compendium of Jewish Congressional members. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc.

The Senate McCarthy Clique

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For a period of four years in American history, a major subject was the influence of Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. Before he made his famous speech titled “Enemies from Within” in Wheeling, West Virginia on February 9, 1950 about his list of 205 Communists (a claim he subsequently reduced to 57) in the State Department, he had been in the Senate since 1947 and had not made any major splashes. He was generally a conservative in his voting record although he tended to favor increasing admissions of European displaced persons, which was opposed by advocates of immigration restriction. He was also less conservative than people might think, as his DW-Nominate score was 0.287 (1 is most right and -1 is most left), lower than that of his top Senate supporters. McCarthy was very far from the first to broach the subject of Communist infiltration of government or American life – the House Un-American Activities Committee, which had been a permanent committee since 1945, primarily investigated communism in the United States. Although McCarthy did name some people who were communists and even agents, his time in the spotlight was notable for his propensity for exaggeration and reckless, unsubstantiated accusations. A prime example of such exaggeration was the list of communists, which had a source: a 1946 letter from Secretary of State James F. Byrnes to Congressman Adolph Sabath (D-Ill.) that reported that there were 284 people that State Department loyalty investigations had recommended discontinuing their employment. Of these 284, 79 had been dismissed, thus the number 205. These people were not only not all necessarily communists (homosexuals or alcoholics could be on this list on the grounds they were potential blackmail targets) but only 65 of these people remained by 1950 and they had undergone further review. His Waterloo was the Army-McCarthy hearings, which, combined with a lack of courtesy towards certain senators, ultimately resulted in his censure in 1954.

Although twenty-two senators objected to McCarthy’s censure, he could in truth count three men as his most consistent supporters: Herman Welker of Idaho, William Jenner of Indiana, and George Malone of Nevada. All four senators opposed Eisenhower’s nomination of Charles “Chip” Bohlen as Ambassador to Russia, charging that he was too conciliatory to the Russians. All three supporters backed McCarthy’s 1953 proposal to cut foreign aid to countries who traded with Communist China. McCarthy, Jenner, and Malone were also identified by President Eisenhower in 1956 as three Republicans he couldn’t count on and wasn’t forthcoming in helping Welker with his reelection bid. The three foremost supporters stood by him after his censure and after his death brought on by alcoholism at the age of 48, accompanied his body as it was flown back in a military plane for burial in his hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin.

Herman Welker was a staunch conservative (DW-Nominate score of 0.493) and such a public supporter of McCarthy that he became known as “Little Joe from Idaho”. He led McCarthy’s defense at the hearings that resulted in his censure. Unfortunately, Welker figures prominently in a shameful episode in the Senate’s history. He along with Senator Styles Bridges (R-N.H.), had learned that Senator Lester Hunt’s (D-Wyo.) son had been arrested for propositioning a policeman (normally first-time offenses weren’t prosecuted on this matter). They threatened to expose the scandal and have him prosecuted unless he retired immediately. He didn’t quit immediately, so his son was tried, convicted, and fined. Hunt announced his retirement on June 8, 1954, and shot himself in his office eleven days later. Welker lost reelection by almost 18 points in 1956 and would die of an aggressive brain tumor the following year at the age of 50.

William Jenner had been elected with McCarthy in the GOP wave of 1946 and was his most visible defender. He was vigorous in his belief that a communist conspiracy existed within the federal government and that this conspiracy had led to China becoming communist. Jenner was a leading critic of Secretary of Defense George Marshall, calling him “a living lie” and stated that he was “eager to play the role of front man for traitors” (Uldrich, 87). He was willing to engage in such harsh language as he, like McCarthy, believed that Marshall had served as a dupe for the Chinese Communists in his efforts to negotiate peace between them and the Nationalists in 1946, which included an embargo of supplying arms to the Nationalists. Jenner was probably the most conservative of the senators as his DW-Nominate score of 0.572 is the highest. Although he stood as one of the most right-wing senators in his time, his support of civil rights would likely surprise the contemporary observer. In his final effort in the Senate before his 1958 retirement, Jenner tried to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to prevent its interference in anti-communist efforts, but this was defeated on a vote of 49-41. He never again sought elected office after his retirement and died in 1985.

George Malone had been elected in the GOP wave of 1946 with McCarthy and was a reliable voice for socially conservative and anti-communist causes who could be swayed to support some fiscally liberal positions (such as increasing unemployment compensation and public assistance for the disabled) and often sided with unions over management on labor issues (DW-Nominate score: 0.312). He was, however, the most non-interventionist of the four men. He had voted against Greek-Turkish Aid (McCarthy and Jenner had voted for it) and the Marshall Plan (McCarthy voted for this one too). Malone was also known as a speaker so boring he could clear the Senate floor. He was not a strong presence and would have likely lost reelection in 1952 had powerhouse Democratic Senator Pat McCarran not surreptitiously backed him over a liberal Democratic critic. In 1958, Malone, lacking the benefit of McCarran’s assistance (he had died in 1954) as well as the support of the Eisenhower Administration, lost reelection. He attempted a comeback in 1960 in his run for Congress but lost decisively and died less than a year later.

This small group of senators were reviled by liberals in the press and their style fell out of favor with the fall of McCarthy. Unfortunately, these developments also resulted in anti-communism as a whole losing ground in the United States, with such a vigorous approach on the subject not truly returning until the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980.


Caute, D. (1988). The fellow-travelers: Intellectual friends of communism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Glass, A. (2015, June 8). Sen. Lester Hunt resigns, June 8, 1954. Politico.

Retrieved from

Myers, D. (2010, October 14). George Malone. Online Nevada Encyclopedia.

Retrieved from

Uldrich, J. (2005). Soldier, statesman, peacemaker: Leadership lessons from George C. Marshall. Broadway, NY: AMACOM.


Mike’s Conservative Index, 2018 Edition

Image result for Ronald Reagan

Since the year 2018 has fallen into history, I am presenting today the 2018 edition of Mike’s Conservative Index, which is a way to judge your federal legislators based on conservatism. Examples of conservative positions include:

. Market-oriented economic policy.

. Opposition to policies that are socialist or constitute a step on the road to socialism.

. Strong national defense and maintaining key U.S. interests abroad.

. Cracking down on illegal immigration.

. Opposition to excessive federal regulations.

. Opposition to policies that involve government support of abortions, including funding institutions that perform them.

. Limiting federal domestic spending.

. Limiting the reach of the federal government.

In short, the ideals of the Reagan conservative.

Legislators are graded on a scale of 0-100%, with 25 votes counted for each chamber. I have attempted to include a broad range of issues so that not many legislators score a 0% or 100%. Both scores should be difficult, but not impossible to achieve for a legislator. The descriptions of the Senate and House votes are included below as well as their scores.

Disclaimer: The MC-Index is deaf to the words of politicians and blind to their actions outside of the legislative floor. It should also not be used as a yardstick for a legislator’s ethics, as that is not what the MC-Index is intended to measure.

2018 MC-Index, Senate Votes

  1. Brownback Nomination

Confirmation of Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas for Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom. Vice President Mike Pence voted “yea” to break the tie.

Confirmed 50-49: R 50-0; D 0-47; I 0-2, 1/24/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. McCain-Coons Immigration Bill

Motion to end debate on the McCain-Coons Immigration Bill, which provides for stricter border security measures in exchange for a path to citizenship for “Dreamers” and provides no funds for a border wall.

Defeated 52-47: R 4-46; D 46-1; I 2-0, 2/15/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Toomey Anti-Sanctuary Cities Bill

Motion to end debate on the Toomey Bill to prohibit sanctuary cities and jurisdictions from receiving certain federal grants.

Defeated 54-45: R 50-0; D 4-43; I 0-2, 2/15/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Common Sense Coalition” Immigration Bill

Motion to end debate on the “Common Sense Coalition” Immigration Bill, which provided a path to citizenship for “Dreamers” while providing $25 billion for increased border security as opposed to a border wall. Democratic Senators Harris, Heinrich, and Udall cast their votes against when it became clear this bill would not get 3/5’s approval.

Defeated 54-45: R 8-42; D 44-3; I 2-0, 2/15/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Partial Repeal of Dodd-Frank Law

Passage of the bill rolling back the Dodd-Frank Banking Law, most of the reductions on regulation were regarding small and community banks. This was after an unsuccessful effort at full repeal the previous year. See House vote #10.

Passed 67-31: R 50-0; D 16-30; I 1-1, 3/14/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Table First Yemen Resolution

Motion to table the Sanders (I-Vt.) Resolution to pull out American forces from Yemen.

Tabled 55-44: R 45-5; D 10-37; I 0-2, 3/20/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Repeal CFPB Regulations on Auto Loans

Passage of the Moran (R-Kan.) Resolution, disapproving of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations on auto loans done in the name of improving enforcement of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Auto loans were specifically left out from the jurisdiction of the independent agency in the Dodd-Frank Act, yet the Obama Administration found a way around that prohibition.

Adopted 51-47: R 50-0; D 1-45; I 0-2, 4/18/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Pompeo Nomination

Confirmation of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State.

Confirmed 57-42: R 50-0; D 6-41; I 1-1, 4/26/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Disapprove Repeal of Net Neutrality

Adoption of the Markey (D-Mass.) Resolution, disapproving the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality under the leadership of Ajit Pai.

Adopted 52-47: R 3-47; D 47-0; I 2-0, 5/16/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Haspel Nomination

Confirmation of Gina Haspel as Director of the CIA.

Confirmed 54-45: R 48-2; D 6-41; I 0-2, 5/17/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Discharge House-Passed Spending Cuts Bill

Motion to discharge the Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act. See House vote #13.

Rejected 48-50: R 48-2; D 0-46; I 0-2, 6/20/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Table Repeal of WOTUS Rule

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) proposed to repeal the Waters of the United States Rule in a major appropriations bill and a motion to table his amendment followed. This proposal got more Republican votes in opposition than the House measure that would accomplish the same thing as there had been an agreement struck between the Democratic and Republican Senate leadership not to attach controversial legislation to appropriations bills.

Tabled 62-34: R 20-29; D 40-5; I 2-0, 6/21/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Table Work Requirements for Food Stamps

Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) proposed to add work requirements for food stamp eligibility to the agriculture bill and a motion to table his amendment followed.

Tabled 68-30: R 20-30; D 46-0; I 2-0, 6/28/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Agriculture Bill

Passage of the bill extending agricultural subsidies without work requirements for food stamp eligibility.

Passed 68-11: R 38-11; D 46-0; I 2-0, 6/28/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Restore Budget Caps

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) proposed to cut spending to be in compliance with the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Rejected 25-74: R 25-25; D 0-47; I 0-2, 7/25/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Extend National Flood Insurance Program

Passage of the bill extending government-sponsored flood insurance until November 30, 2018, without market reforms.

Passed 86-12: R 37-12; D 47-0; I 2-0, 7/31/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Table Cutting Off Funding of Funding D.C.’s Individual Mandate

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) offered an amendment defunding Washington D.C.’s individual mandate, and a motion to table followed.

Tabled 54-44: R 5-44; D 47-0; I 2-0, 8/1/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Delete Funding for Planned Parenthood

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) amendment deleting government funding for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation.

Rejected 45-48: R 45-2; D 0-44; I 0-2, 8/23/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. End Debate on Kavanaugh Nomination

Motion to end debate on the vote to confirm D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This was the key vote after the hearings that saw emotional but unsubstantiated charges of sexual assault leveled against Kavanaugh.

Passed 51-49: R 50-1; D 1-46; I 0-2, 10/5/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Disapprove of Trump Administration Healthcare Rule

Adoption of the Baldwin (D-Wis.) Resolution, disapproving of the rule issued by the Trump Administration expanding access to short-term, limited-duration health insurance policies by allowing them to be sold up to 364 days and renewed or extended for up to 36 months. Vice President Mike Pence voted “nay” to break the tie.

Defeated 50-51: R 1-50; D 47-0; I 2-0, 10/10/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Table Resolution Blocking Arms Sale to Bahrain

Motion to table the Paul (R-Ky.) Resolution, blocking a $300 million arms sale to Bahrain in connection with the war in Yemen.

Tabled 77-21: R 48-3; D 28-17; I 1-1, 11/15/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Disapprove of Trump Administration IRS Reporting Exemption Guideline

Adoption of the Tester (D-Mont.) Resolution, disapproving of the Trump Administration’s guideline to exempt tax-exempt groups from the IRS’s reporting requirements for major donors on an annual basis.

Adopted 50-49: R 1-49; D 47-0; I 2-0, 12/12/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Second Yemen Resolution

Adoption of the Sanders (I-Vt.)-Lee (R-Utah)-Murphy (D-Conn.) Resolution, cutting off U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen. The assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi of The Washington Post in Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Istanbul under the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman undoubtedly swayed some senators in favor.

Adopted 56-41: R 7-41; D 47-0; I 2-0, 12/13/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Require Bureau of Prisons to Notify Victims Before Prisoner Release

Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) offered an amendment to the First Step Act, which requires the Bureau of Prisons to notify the victims of prisoners to when they are to be released.

Rejected 37-62: R 36-14; D 1-46; I 0-2, 12/18/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Vote to Proceed to Appropriations Bill

Passage of the resolution to proceed to consideration of the appropriations bill that includes funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall. Vice President Mike Pence voted “yea” to break the tie.

Passed 49-48: R 46-0; D 1-45; I 0-2, 12/21/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.


MC-Index, House Votes


  1. Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

Passage of the bill requiring health care practitioners to care for children who have survived an abortion or attempted abortion.

Passed 241-183: R 235-0; D 6-183, 1/19/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017

Passage of the bill placing restrictions on Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits. This was in response to repeated abusive lawsuits against businesses.

Passed 225-192: R 213-19; D 12-173, 2/15/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Right to Try Act

Passage of the bill authorizing patients to use investigational drugs if they are terminally ill.

Passed 259-140: R 227-2; D 32-138, 3/13/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Balanced Budget Amendment

Passage of the resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Defeated 233-184: R 226-6; D 7-178, 4/12/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Prohibit Funding for Enforcement of Davis-Bacon Act

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act, prohibiting funds for enforcement of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires a “prevailing wage” to be paid by contractors for government projects.

Defeated 172-243: R 172-57; D 0-186, 4/26/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Delete Funding for Essential Air Service

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) amendment, deleting authorization for the Essential Air Service, which funds unprofitable flights to remote areas.

Defeated 113-293: R 109-115; D 4-178, 4/27/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Free Market Reforms for Sugar Program

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) amendment to the agriculture bill, implementing market reforms for the sugar program. This is a fascinating vote as it demonstrates when a sizeable number of Republicans and Democrats will make exceptions for their respective ideologies regarding the role of government.

Rejected 137-278: R 96-132; D 41-146, 5/17/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Repeal Bioenergy Subsidies

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) amendment to the agriculture bill, repealing the bioenergy subsidy programs established under Title IX of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.

Rejected 75-340: R 74-154; D 1-186, 5/17/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Repeal of WOTUS Rule

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) amendment to the agriculture bill, repealing the Waters of the United States Rule.

Passed 238-173: R 225-3; D 13-170, 5/18/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Partial Repeal of Dodd-Frank Act

Passage of the bill rolling back regulations of the Dodd-Frank Act, most of which impacted small and community banks.

Passed 258-159: R 225-1; D 33-158, 5/22/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Strike Authorization for Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State to Counter Iran’s Destabilizing Activities

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Haw.) amendment, striking the section of the National Defense Authorization Act to develop and implement a strategy with foreign partners to counter the destabilizing activities of Iran.

Rejected 60-355: R 8-217; D 52-183, 5/23/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Reinstate Domestic Sourcing Requirement for Flatware

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) amendment, reinstating the domestic sourcing requirement for flatware procured by the Department of Defense. This vote demonstrates a factional split between the parties on trade.

Rejected 174-239: R 47-177; D 127-62, 5/23/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act

Passage of the bill rescinding nearly $15 billion of unobligated balances from funding appropriated.

Passed 210-206: R 210-19; D 0-187, 6/7/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Delete ARPA-E Program

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) amendment, eliminating funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program. The program’s elimination is supported by the Trump Administration.

Rejected 123-295: R 123-108; D 0-187, 6/7/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. 1% Spending Cut

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) amendment, providing for a 1% across the board cut in the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill.

Rejected 155-262: R 154-77; D 1-185, 6/7/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act

Passage of the bill strengthening transparency requirements for unfunded mandates, including the EPA, which is currently exempt.

Passed 230-168: R 220-0; D 10-168, 7/13/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. 15% Cut to Arts Funding

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) amendment, cutting funding for the National Endowment on the Arts and the Humanities by 15%.

Rejected 114-297: R 113-112; D 1-185, 7/18/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Prohibit Funding for Methane Rule

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) amendment, prohibiting use of funds from enforcing the Obama Administration’s EPA methane rule.

Passed 215-194: R 213-16; D 2-178, 7/18/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Prohibit Funding for Social Cost of Carbon Rule

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) amendment, prohibiting use of funds from implementing the Obama Administration’s social cost of carbon rule.

Passed 215-199: R 213-16; D 2-183, 7/18/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Prohibit Funding for Office of Environmental Justice

Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) amendment, prohibiting funding for the Environmental Justice Small Grants issued by the Office of Environmental Justice.

Rejected 174-240: R 173-57; D 1-183, 7/18/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Prohibit Funds for D.C. Individual Mandate

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) amendment, prohibiting funds from being used to carry out the D.C. individual mandate.

Passed 226-189: R 226-4; D 0-185, 7/18/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Prohibit Property Seizure Under Individual Mandate

Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Penn.) amendment, prohibiting funds from being used to seize property in order to enforce the liability provisions of the D.C. individual mandate.

Passed 231-184: R 230-0; D 1-184, 7/18/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018

Passage of the bill making permanent tax provisions for the 2017 law that would otherwise sunset after 2025.

Passed 220-191: R 217-10; D 3-181, 9/28/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Fund Border Wall

Passage of the appropriations bill that provides funding for a border wall.

Passed 217-185: R 217-8; D 0-177, 12/20/18. A “yea” vote is the conservative position.

  1. Extension of National Flood Insurance Program

Passage of the bill extending the national flood insurance program with no market reforms.

Passed 315-48: R 152-47; D 163-1, 12/21/18. A “nay” vote is the conservative position.


Shelby R 80 Daines R 84
Jones D 24 Tester D 8
Murkowski R 56 Fischer R 88
Sullivan R 84 Sasse R 96
Flake R 78 Heller R 91
McCain R NR Cortez Masto D 8
Boozman R 80 Shaheen D 13
Cotton R 100 NEW JERSEY
Feinstein D 0 Menendez D 8
COLORADO Heinrich D 8
Gardner R 80 Udall D 8
Bennet D 8 NEW YORK
CONNECTICUT Gillibrand D 0
Blumenthal D 4 Schumer D 4
Carper D 8 Tillis R 78
FLORIDA Hoeven R 80
Rubio R 88 Heitkamp D 24
Nelson D 17 OHIO
GEORGIA Portman R 80
Isakson R 71 Brown D 4
Perdue R 88 OKLAHOMA
HAWAII Inhofe R 100
Hirono D 0 Lankford R 96
Schatz D 4 OREGON
IDAHO Merkley D 0
Crapo R 88 Wyden D 0
ILLINOIS Toomey R 100
Duckworth D 4 Casey D 0
Young R 84 Whitehouse D 8
IOWA Graham R 70
Ernst R 88 Scott R 88
Grassley R 80 SOUTH DAKOTA
KANSAS Rounds R 76
Moran R 64 Thune R 88
Roberts R 76 TENNESSEE
KENTUCKY Alexander R 75
McConnell R 84 Corker R 92
Paul R 79 TEXAS
Cassidy R 88 Cruz R 92
Kennedy R 88 UTAH
MAINE Hatch R 71
Collins R 44 Lee R 84
Cardin D 4 Sanders I 0
Van Hollen D 0 VIRGINIA
Markey D 0 Warner D 12
MICHIGAN Cantwell D 0
Peters D 8 Murray D 0
Klobuchar D 4 Manchin D 40
Cochran R 100 Baldwin D 0
Hyde-Smith R 79 WYOMING
Wicker R 84 Barasso R 96
Blunt R 84
McCaskill D 20
1 Byrne R 84 1 Clay D 0
2 Roby R 67 2 Wagner R 100
3 Rogers R 76 3 Luetkemeyer R 83
4 Aderholt R 72 4 Hartzler R 84
5 Brooks R 88 5 Cleaver D 4
6 Palmer R 96 6 Graves R 76
7 Sewell D 10 7 Long R 76
ALASKA 8 Smith R 88
ARIZONA AL Gianforte R 80
1 O’Halleran D 16 NEBRASKA
2 McSally R 80 1 Fortenberry R 64
3 Grijalva D 4 2 Bacon R 68
4 Gosar R 92 3 Smith R 80
5 Biggs R 96 NEVADA
6 Schweikert R 100 1 Titus D 8
7 Gallego D 8 2 Amodei R 64
8 Lesko R 100 3 Rosen D 22
9 Sinema D 29 4 Kihuen D 8
1 Crawford R 80 1 Shea-Porter D 10
2 Hill R 80 2 Kuster D 13
3 Womack R 72 NEW JERSEY
4 Westerman R 88 1 Norcross D 4
CALIFORNIA 2 LoBiondo R 58
1 LaMalfa R 72 3 MacArthur R 60
2 Huffman D 0 4 Smith R 48
3 Garamendi D 8 5 Gottheimer D 20
4 McClintock R 100 6 Pallone D 12
5 Thompson D 0 7 Lance R 52
6 Matsui D 0 8 Sires D 4
7 Bera D 12 9 Pascrell D 8
8 Cook R 76 10 Payne D 8
9 McNerney D 0 11 Frelinghuysen R 67
10 Denham R 65 12 Watson Coleman D 4
11 DeSaulnier D 4 NEW MEXICO
12 Pelosi D 4 1 Lujan Grisham D 14
13 Lee D 8 2 Pearce R 81
14 Speier D 19 3 Lujan D 8
15 Swalwell D 4 NEW YORK
16 Costa D 26 1 Zeldin R 74
17 Khanna D 0 2 King R 61
18 Eshoo D 0 3 Suozzi D 12
19 Lofgren D 13 4 Rice D 17
20 Panetta D 8 5 Meeks D 12
21 Valadao R 56 6 Meng D 4
22 Nunes R 72 7 Velazquez D 4
23 McCarthy R 76 8 Jeffries D 4
24 Carbajal D 10 9 Clarke D 4
25 Knight R 76 10 Nadler D 8
26 Brownley D 4 11 Donovan R 57
27 Chu D 0 12 Maloney, C. D 4
28 Schiff D 8 13 Espaillat D 4
29 Cardenas D 5 14 Crowley D 0
30 Sherman D 8 15 Serrano D 0
31 Aguilar D 13 16 Engel D 4
32 Napolitano D 4 17 Lowey D 4
33 Lieu D 9 18 Maloney, S. D 12
34 Gomez D 8 19 Faso R 40
35 Torres D 8 20 Tonko D 4
36 Ruiz D 4 21 Stefanik R 44
37 Bass D 13 22 Tenney R 64
38 Sanchez D 0 23 Reed R 54
39 Royce R 80 24 Katko R 44
40 Roybal-Allard D 4 25 Slaughter D NR
41 Takano D 0 25 Morelle D NR
42 Calvert R 68 26 Higgins D 8
43 Waters D 0 27 Collins R 72
44 Barragan D 12 NORTH CAROLINA
45 Walters R 95 1 Butterfield D 4
46 Correa D 17 2 Holding R 96
47 Lowenthal D 4 3 Jones R 76
48 Rohrabacher R 83 4 Price D 4
49 Issa R 91 5 Foxx R 96
50 Hunter R 91 6 Walker R 100
51 Vargas D 10 7 Rouzer R 84
52 Peters D 25 8 Hudson R 92
53 Davis D 8 9 Pittenger R 83
COLORADO 10 McHenry R 80
1 DeGette D 4 11 Meadows R 96
2 Polis D 18 12 Adams D 4
3 Tipton R 71 13 Budd R 100
5 Lamborn R 92 AL Cramer R 71
6 Coffman R 76 OHIO
7 Perlmutter D 8 1 Chabot R 100
CONNECTICUT 2 Wenstrup R 96
1 Larson D 8 3 Beatty D 5
2 Courtney D 4 4 Jordan R 100
3 DeLauro D 4 5 Latta R 92
4 Himes D 24 6 Johnson R 80
5 Esty D 4 7 Gibbs R 84
DELAWARE 8 Davidson R 100
AL Blunt Rochester D 12 9 Kaptur D 4
FLORIDA 10 Turner R 56
1 Gaetz R 79 11 Fudge D 0
2 Dunn R 84 12 Balderson R 67
3 Yoho R 88 13 Ryan D 4
4 Rutherford R 68 14 Joyce R 63
5 Lawson D 12 15 Stivers R 64
6 DeSantis R 100 16 Renacci R 79
7 Murphy D 16 OKLAHOMA
8 Posey R 92 1 Bridenstine R 100
9 Soto D 4 1 Hern R NR
10 Demings D 8 2 Mullin R 84
11 Webster R 96 3 Lucas R 68
12 Bilirakis R 84 4 Cole R 60
13 Crist D 8 5 Russell R 96
14 Castor D 0 OREGON
15 Ross R 79 1 Bonamici D 4
16 Buchanan R 68 2 Walden R 64
17 Rooney, T. R 74 3 Blumenauer D 13
18 Mast R 60 4 DeFazio D 4
19 Rooney, F. R 92 5 Schrader D 24
20 Hastings D 9 PENNSYLVANIA
21 Frankel D 4 1 Brady D 4
22 Deutch D 4 2 Evans D 4
23 Wasserman-Schultz D 4 3 Kelly R 64
24 Wilson D 0 4 Perry R 92
25 Diaz-Balart R 56 5 Thompson R 68
26 Curbelo R 42 6 Costello R 52
27 Ros-Lehtinen R 38 7 Meehan R 50
GEORGIA 7 Scanlon D NR
1 Carter R 92 8 Fitzpatrick R 40
2 Bishop D 26 9 Shuster R 71
3 Ferguson R 84 10 Marino R 72
4 Johnson D 0 11 Barletta R 70
5 Lewis D 0 12 Rothfus R 92
6 Handel R 88 13 Boyle D 5
7 Woodall R 92 14 Doyle D 4
8 Scott R 76 15 Dent R 83
9 Collins R 88 15 Wild D NR
10 Hice R 100 16 Smucker R 84
11 Loudermilk R 96 17 Cartwright D 8
12 Allen R 88 18 Lamb D 14
13 Scott D 18 RHODE ISLAND
14 Graves R 96 1 Cicilline D 8
HAWAII 2 Langevin D 13
1 Hanabusa D 19 SOUTH CAROLINA
2 Gabbard D 0 1 Sanford R 88
IDAHO 2 Wilson R 72
1 Labrador R 94 3 Duncan R 100
2 Simpson R 64 4 Gowdy R 86
ILLINOIS 5 Norman R 96
1 Rush D 9 6 Clyburn D 4
2 Kelly D 4 7 Rice R 88
3 Lipinski D 12 SOUTH DAKOTA
4 Gutierrez D 10 AL Noem R 83
5 Quigley D 12 TENNESSEE
6 Roskam R 57 1 Roe R 92
7 Davis D 9 2 Duncan R 92
8 Krishnamoorthi D 4 3 Fleischmann R 80
9 Schakowsky D 4 4 DesJarlais R 96
10 Schneider D 17 5 Cooper D 40
11 Foster D 20 6 Black R 82
12 Bost R 68 7 Blackburn R 93
13 Davis R 68 8 Kustoff R 91
14 Hultgren R 83 9 Cohen D 8
15 Shimkus R 67 TEXAS
16 Kinzinger R 67 1 Gohmert R 91
17 Bustos D 8 2 Poe R 88
18 LaHood R 76 3 Johnson, S. R 100
INDIANA 4 Ratcliffe R 96
1 Visclosky D 8 5 Hensarling R 100
2 Walorski R 80 6 Barton R 79
3 Banks R 96 7 Culberson R 83
4 Rokita R 100 8 Brady R 83
5 Brooks R 76 9 Green, A. D 4
6 Messer R 96 10 McCaul R 76
7 Carson D 8 11 Conaway R 84
8 Bucshon R 76 12 Granger R 72
9 Hollingsworth R 80 13 Thornberry R 72
IOWA 14 Weber R 80
1 Blum R 88 15 Gonzalez D 20
2 Loebsack D 8 16 O’Rourke D 4
3 Young R 68 17 Flores R 88
4 King R 76 18 Jackson-Lee D 4
KANSAS 19 Arrington R 92
1 Marshall R 64 20 Castro D 4
2 Jenkins R 91 21 Smith R 79
3 Yoder R 71 22 Olson R 83
4 Estes R 88 23 Hurd R 60
KENTUCKY 24 Marchant R 79
1 Comer R 88 25 Williams R 96
2 Guthrie R 84 26 Burgess R 84
3 Yarmuth D 4 27 Farenthold R 100
4 Massie R 88 27 Cloud R 100
5 Rogers R 61 28 Cuellar D 40
6 Barr R 84 29 Green, G. D 4
LOUISIANA 30 Johnson, E.B. D 8
1 Scalise R 91 31 Carter R 72
2 Richmond D 6 32 Sessions R 88
3 Higgins R 82 33 Veasey D 20
4 Johnson R 84 34 Vela D 16
5 Abraham R 88 35 Doggett D 8
6 Graves R 88 36 Babin R 84
1 Pingree D 0 1 Bishop R 84
2 Poliquin R 72 2 Stewart R 88
MARYLAND 3 Curtis R 92
1 Harris R 92 4 Love R 79
2 Ruppersberger D 13 VERMONT
3 Sarbanes D 4 AL Welch D 4
4 Brown D 10 VIRGINIA
5 Hoyer D 5 1 Wittman R 96
6 Delaney D 16 2 Taylor R 75
7 Cummings D 9 3 Scott D 8
8 Raskin D 4 4 McEachin D 8
1 Neal D 4 6 Goodlatte R 92
2 McGovern D 0 7 Brat R 100
3 Tsongas D 9 8 Beyer D 9
4 Kennedy D 4 9 Griffith R 88
5 Clark D 0 10 Comstock R 71
6 Moulton D 13 11 Connolly D 12
7 Capuano D 0 WASHINGTON
8 Lynch D 4 1 DelBene D 4
9 Keating D 5 2 Larsen D 8
MICHIGAN 3 Herrera Beutler R 72
1 Bergman R 68 4 Newhouse R 72
2 Huizenga R 96 5 McMorris-Rodgers R 76
3 Amash R 88 6 Kilmer D 8
4 Moolenaar R 68 7 Jayapal D 0
5 Kildee D 4 8 Reichert R 63
6 Upton R 64 9 Smith D 12
7 Walberg R 96 10 Heck D 12
9 Levin D 4 1 McKinley R 56
10 Mitchell R 76 2 Mooney R 96
11 Trott R 68 3 Jenkins R 65
12 Dingell D 0 WISCONSIN
13 Jones D NR 1 Ryan R NR
14 Lawrence D 8 2 Pocan D 0
1 Walz D 25 4 Moore D 9
2 Lewis R 88 5 Sensenbrenner R 92
3 Paulsen R 63 6 Grothman R 88
4 McCollum D 4 7 Duffy R 76
5 Ellison D 0 8 Gallagher R 96
6 Emmer R 80 WYOMING
7 Peterson D 42 AL Cheney R 74
8 Nolan D 5
1 Kelly R 84
2 Thompson D 4
3 Harper R 68
4 Palazzo R 77

Ideology and Civil Rights, 1950 Edition

Majority Leader Scott Lucas (D-Ill.), who led the charge to kill an amendment hindering army desegregation.

The 1948 election had been a good one for Democrats as they had won back the House and Senate. However, the session of Congress proved largely a disappointment for New Deal liberals on domestic issues, as the only major Truman program to pass Congress was the Taft-Ellender-Wagner Housing Act. This session also considered some key civil rights issues. The first was a vote on defeating the Russell Amendment. Senator Richard Russell (D-Ga.), a defender of Jim Crow laws, proposed to undermine President Truman’s desegregation order of the Armed Forces by giving enlistees a choice to serve in units of their own race. Majority Leader Scott Lucas (D-Ill.) managed to get it tabled on a vote of 42-29. 16 Democrats and 26 Republicans opposed the Russell Amendment, while 25 Democrats and 4 Republicans favored. This is vote #1 on the chart at the end of this post. A proposal for a voluntary Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC), which would have had authority to investigate employment discrimination, but not authority to take action against companies that discriminated.  The only penalties that existed in this measure were for refusing to cooperate with an investigation. This was voted down as it was being filibustered, and the Senate was unable to muster enough support to overcome, as it was a 2/3’s vote. The vote was 55-33, with 22 Democrats and 33 Republicans in favor of a voluntary FEPC, while 27 Democrats and 6 Republicans voted against. This is vote #2 in the chart at the end of this post.

But wait, the social media NPC says, “the parties switched places”! I have for some time been creating my own system of rating politicians, what I call Mike’s Conservative Index. 0 is most liberal and 100 is most conservative. Just so you know I don’t pull the following numbers out of you know where, they are based on positions on the following 34 roll calls in the Senate in the 81st (1949-1950) Congress:

Roll 16, Nay; Roll 27, Yea; Roll 40, Yea; Roll 79, Yea; Roll 88, Yea; Roll 106, Nay; Roll 119, Nay; Roll 141, Yea; Roll 150, Nay; Roll 158, Yea; Roll 163, Nay; Roll 175, Yea; Roll 179, Yea; Roll 220, Nay; Roll 222, Yea; Roll 270, Yea; Roll 281, Yea; Roll 300, Nay; Roll 317, Yea; Roll 326, Nay; Roll 330, Yea; Roll 342, Yea; Roll 346, Yea; Roll 354, Nay; Roll 356, Yea; Roll 357, Nay; Roll 385, Yea; Roll 389, Nay; Roll 393, Nay; Roll 397, Yea; Roll 408, Yea; Roll 411, Yea; Roll 422, Yea; Roll 444, Yea

And no, none of these votes are the civil rights issues below. The issues include labor, price controls, foreign aid, admittance of displaced persons, and anti-communist legislation. Many of these votes are also the same ones Americans for Democratic Action used to grade politicians, except with positions reversed.  Checkmarks mean the legislators announced or paired (when a legislator with a stated position can’t make the vote, another one with an opposite position can sit out, thus the outcome of the vote is unaffected by absences) for. An “X” means paired or announced against.


ALABAMA 1 2 MC-Index NEBRASKA 1 2 MC-Index
Hill D N N 9% Butler R Y Y 97%
Sparkman D N N 18% Wherry R Y Y 100%
Hayden D N N 18% McCarran D Y N 59%
McFarland D N 30% Malone R Y N 91%
Fulbright D N N 52% Bridges R ? N 97%
McClellan D N N 88% Tobey R 59%
Downey D ? ? 14% Hendrickson R Y Y 79%
Knowland R Y Y 76% Smith R Y 59%
Johnson D Y N 73% Anderson D Y Y 12%
Millikin R Y Y 94% Chavez D Y 13%
Benton D Y Y 7% Lehman D Y Y 0%
McMahon D Y Y 16% Ives R Y Y 53%
Frear D Y Y 39% Graham D X N 0%
Williams R Y Y 91% Hoey D N N 67%
Holland D N N 64% Langer R ? Y 38%
Pepper D ? ? 6% Young R ? N 79%
George D N N 76% Bricker R Y Y 100%
Russell D N N 73% Taft R Y Y 91%
Taylor D 3% Kerr D N N 33%
Dworshak R ? Y 85% Thomas D ? Y 41%
Douglas D Y Y 9% Cordon R N Y 91%
Lucas D Y Y 6% Morse R Y 13%
Capehart R Y 94% Myers D Y Y 9%
Jenner R Y Y 97% Martin R Y Y 94%
Gillette D Y 47% Green D Y Y 0%
Hickenlooper R Y Y 91% Leahy D Y Y 9%
Darby R Y ? 93% Johnston D X N 42%
Schoeppel R Y Y 97% Maybank D N N 48%
Chapman D N N 56% Gurney R N N 88%
Withers D N X 19% Mundt R Y N 81%
Ellender D N N 47% Kefauver D N N 0%
Long D X N 34% McKellar D N N 39%
Brewster R Y Y 91% Connally D N N 39%
Smith R Y Y 45% Johnson D N N 32%
O’Conor D ? ? 45% Thomas D Y Y 6%
Tydings D N Y 42% Watkins R N Y 97%
Lodge R Y Y 44% Aiken R Y Y 24%
Saltonstall R Y Y 71% Flanders R Y 52%
Ferguson R Y Y 85% Byrd D N N 91%
Vandenberg R ? Y 71% Robertson D N N 70%
Humphrey D Y Y 0% Magnuson D Y Y 6%
Thye R Y Y 53% Cain R Y 100%
Eastland D N N 73% Kilgore D Y Y 3%
Stennis D N N 64% Neely D Y Y 3%
Donnell R Y Y 85% McCarthy R ? Y 75%
Kem R Y Y 97% Wiley R ? Y 71%
Murray D Y 0% Hunt D N Y 30%
Ecton R N N 97% O’Mahoney D N Y 15%


Lyndon B. Johnson’s Finest Hour in the Senate: The Defeat of the Bricker Amendment

Image result for Bricker Amendment

Five posts ago I bemoaned the gain of power by the Executive Branch, which I find inconsistent with the original intent of separation of powers under the Constitution. One of the major efforts to limit executive power on foreign policy was the Bricker Amendment, introduced by Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio, an ultra-conservative who had been Thomas E. Dewey’s running mate in 1944. The amendment was proposed in response to the executive agreements made at the Yalta Conference with Stalin that gave away Eastern Europe. Bricker was also concerned due to the decision Missouri v. Holland (1920), in which the Supreme Court ruled that a treaty for migratory birds with Canada superseded the Tenth Amendment. The Bricker Amendment, if adopted, would declare any treaties that contravened the Constitution to be null and void and would require that executive agreements only be effective after approval of both chambers of Congress (Woods).

With a Republican Congress plus Southern Democrats on board with this proposal in 1954, it seemed destined for ratification. Enter Minority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson had presidential ambitions and saw the Bricker Amendment as something that could hamstring him in the future, and thus took up common cause with President Dwight Eisenhower in opposition. He considered it “the worst bill I can think of”, and that it would be “the bane of every president we elect” (Caro, 528). Johnson, however, had a dilemma: the Bricker Amendment was popular in an increasingly conservative Texas. He had two goals: 1. Defeat the Bricker Amendment, 2. Do so without appearing opposed. To do so, he had to recruit a respected senator to his side, one with conservative bona fides. Johnson found the perfect man in Georgia’s Walter George. Having served in office since 1922, he had survived an effort by FDR to purge him from the party in the 1938 primary, gaining hero status among Senate conservatives. Johnson convinced George to propose an alternative amendment to the Bricker Amendment that while in character was the amendment, it was also somewhat toned down. After the Bricker Amendment was rejected 42-50, the George substitute was passed 61-30. While it looked for the moment this version was going to pass, LBJ managed to successfully lobby behind the scenes for a reversal, thus the amendment failed by one vote at 60-31. Johnson himself had voted strategically here: he voted against the Bricker Amendment but for the George substitute, when in truth he supported neither version. As Johnson’s aide, Bobby Baker stated, “Had Lyndon Johnson not been the leader of the Senate, the Bricker Amendment would be part of your Constitution today” (Woods, 317). The Supreme Court put some fears to rest in Reid v. Covert (1957), when they ruled that executive agreements cannot contradict federal law or the Constitution. Bricker was embittered by this defeat and he was defeated for reelection in 1958 due to the economy and his unpopular support for a “right to work” law in Ohio.

Relation to the Present

Bringing this example of LBJ’s political prowess back to today, consider the unwillingness of Democrats to attack the fact that Trump has the level of power he currently possesses. Although they will criticize President Trump’s exercise of his power, they don’t want to take any actions that will end up reducing the power of a future Democratic president, which is possible as early as January 20, 2021. Perhaps the Democrats have become wary of changing institutional powers in general. Their most recent experience with this was the invoking of the Nuclear Option on the Senate filibuster, which while it sped up the ability of President Obama to shift the federal judiciary to the left, it also meant that President Trump’s nominees couldn’t be filibustered and opened the door for such option to be extended to the Supreme Court as well. The Imperial Presidency, on questions foreign and domestic, shall continue unabated for the foreseeable future.


Bricker Treaty Amendment Debate. CQ Almanac 1954.

Retrieved from

Caro, R. (2002). The years of Lyndon B. Johnson: Master of the Senate. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Woods, R.B. (2006). LBJ: Architect of American ambition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.