It's Tough to Be Conservative Enough in 2010

Bob Dole, Gerald Ford, and more wouldn't be: Dana Milkbank
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2010 12:24 PM CDT
It's Tough to Be Conservative Enough in 2010
Bob Dole wasn't conservative enough for today's GOP either, apparently.   (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

When Dana Milbank had the temerity to call Lisa Murkowski and Bob Bennett “faithful conservatives,” readers let him have it. These weren’t conservatives, they argued—just look at their American Conservative Union scores! So Milbank did. “What I found was astonishing,” he writes in the Washington Post. Murkowski and Bennett boasted ACU scores of 70.2% and 83.6%, respectively. If Republicans applied that purity test to other politicians, “they would have rejected many of the leading Republican lawmakers of the past 40 years.”

Gerald Ford had a measly 67% rating. Bob Dole and Senate leader Howard Baker clocked in at 82%, below Bennett; Baker’s predecessor, Hugh Scott, rated a mere 29%. Yes, Alaska is pretty conservative, but it didn’t seem to mind Ted Stevens (64%). Of course, in today’s House, “95% and above is the new normal,” and in the Senate, only a handful of sub-90s remain, like Dick Lugar, Chuck Grassley, and Lamar Alexander. “In my book, they’re all ‘faithful conservatives,’” Milbank says. “But I’m old-fashioned.” (More Lisa Murkowski stories.)

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