Scores Only a Golfer Could Love


Support for free-market principles waned slightly during the first session of the 100th Congress, an index compiled by the Competitive Enterprise Institute shows. Senators supported the free market 41 percent of the time in 1987, down from 50 percent in 1985–86. In the House, representatives voted for the free market 35 percent of the time in 1987, after a 40 percent score the year before.

The study includes 78 Senate and 93 House votes judged to have significant impact on economic competition, freedom, and opportunity. By "procompetitive" votes, CEI means votes for free trade, deregulation, termination or reduction of subsidies, lower tax rates, increased consumer choice, privatization, and other cutbacks of federal meddling in the marketplace.

For the third year in a row, Phil Gramm tops the Senate ratings with a 91 percent. Other high scorers include Republicans William Armstrong (91) and Gordon Humphrey (89). Notable Senate scores include Minority Leader Robert Dole (67), Republican vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle (75)—and compare his Democratic opponent, Lloyd Bentsen, at 33.

The lowest scores are Democrats Al Gore (14), Barbara Mikulski (13), John Glenn (13), and Dukakis pal Paul Sarbanes (10). Overall, Senate Democrats averaged a 24, down from a previous score of 32, while Republicans averaged a 60, down from a previous score of 66.

In the House, Jack Kemp posted the high score of 96, though he participated in only 27 of the votes rated. Kemp's score, CEI's newsletter suggests, proves "that running for president either increases one's support of the free market or makes one selective in casting votes."

Kemp is followed by Dick Armey (95) and Phil Crane (94). Notable House scores include Minority Leader Bob Michel (86), Minority Whip Trent Lott (71), Pat Schroeder (18), Majority Leader Tom Foley (13), and Richard Gephardt (8).

With a perfect 0, House Speaker Jim Wright joins Robert Roe at dead last, edging out John Conyers, who managed a 1. House Republicans averaged a 35, down from a previous score of 40, while the Democrats' average plummeted to 13 from last year's 22.