The Worst American Politicians


The Best & the Worst
Why the historically low Congressional ratings? Could it be because the US Congress has largely been sold to the US Chamber of Commerce?

For 2014, Progressive Living has again embarked upon an evaluation of the worst (and best) American politicians (as of 2012, the last year for which legislative records are available as of this writing). Once again, we used criteria that reveal which representatives represent working Americans, and which instead represent corporations and billionaires. [In addition, those who feel that the politicans who supported a shutdown of the governement are among the worst should see our addendum of October, 2013 below.]

Since working Americans elect politicians to represent their interests, we believe that our evaluation is the only one that reveals America's best and worst politicians. And we think our evaluation does so about as objectively as any such evaluation could.

Recent Congresses may well have been the worst in American history, providing a wealth of candidates for nomination to our worst list. However, we've focused here only on the very worst politicians. Keep in mind that many more are nearly as terrible.

Specifically, we've looked at how the US Chamber of Commerce evaluates these representatives, and at how the American Civil Liberties Union evaluates them. When combined, these criteria reveal who is legislating on behalf of wealthy businessmen (the US Chamber of Commerce is run on behalf of the CEOs of very large, not small, businesses), and who is also legislating against American freedoms. However, as an independent check on our evaluation of the worst American politicians, we've also included the legislative score of Public Citizen, a clean government group. A low score from this group strongly suggests that the legislator is in basic ideological opposition to American democracy itself.

The final results: every legislator on this list voted 90% of the time or better as the US Chamber of Commerce wanted them to. Every legislator on this list also voted 100% of the time against American freedoms. And every one independently received a scandalously low score from Public Citizen.

If this set of scores doesn't send a chill down your spine, it should. Democracies exist precisely in order to safeguard the economic and political interests of the little guy. Fascism, on the other hand, exists only to crush the freedoms of the common man, and to ensure that wealthy businessmen run society exclusively in light of their own economic interests.

Every one of the legislators identified below has a well-established, highly consistent, and undeniable record of fascist ideology.  Twenty-nine of these are extreme even within this very extreme group. It is a measure of the true extremism of these politicans that all share the same basic political alignment as the Italian dictator Mussolini and the Spanish dictator Franco.

Despite the fact that we've focused only on the very worst, there are an awful lot of them (103), which, in itself, says a great deal. All are House "representatives" and all are Republican (simply by virtue of their scores, not by ideological bias on our part).

The corporate media largely presented the 2012 election as a contest between the interests of the young and the interests of the old. This was a typical example of utterly false divide-and-conquer distraction. What that election in fact did was very largely determine whether democracy itself could survive in the United States:  a Romney presidency with a Republican-controlled Senate would, quite simply, have meant the end of democracy in the US.  (But all is very far from well, even now.)

And please also note this: not one single mass media news outlet, liberal or conservative, has named the names identified below. 

That is surely because the CEOs of the corporate mass media are themselves sympathetic to fascism.  Americans experienced this before in the years leading up to World War II. Businessman Henry Ford adored Hitler, who borrowed much of his agenda from Mussolini. (And the love was returned: Ford received a medal of appreciation from Hitler.) Others, such as news mogul William Randolph Hearst, preferred the fascist dictator Mussolini instead.

The current CEO (and Republican party) alignment with fascism is, to some degree, the consequence of a secret memorandum written by future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, authored at the request of the US Chamber of Commerce.

The infamous memorandum called for big business to transform democratic governance through corporate control of the arts and sciences, academia, and above all the media. It called for the destruction of organized labor and consumer protection groups.

In short, Powell was, like the leaders of the US Chamber of Commerce, a fascist calling for fascist governance.

The Best & the Worst
Money in elections is drowning out the voice of legitimate politicians - and making the corporate media and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) rich.  And that's the way the NAB and USCoC like it.

The Powell/USCoC agenda is one major thread (though not the only one) that runs through Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that gives corporations, and the super-rich who own and rule them, the ability to control elections with unlimited secret campaign donations. (More recently, the pro-fascist McCutcheon decison revisits the same corrupt perspective.)

Because they can either serve the US Chamber of Commerce or the American people, but not both, we think it's about time that Americans knew specifically who the most fascist of their politicians are.

So here they are.

Those color-coded in red voted 100% of the time as the USCoC wanted them to, and are, in effect, outright USCoC employees.

We note that this list of the very worst and very most extreme politicians in America includes two key Congressional leaders, and the 2012 Republican Vice-Presidential contender: John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Paul Ryan. This signifies deep and comprehensive corruption within the Republican party itself.  There's nothing remotely normal about this.  A Republican party this deranged, this completely opposed to democracy, can simply not be regarded as legitimate political party at all, and has no legitimate role to serve in American society.  (This is not to say that everything is swell with the Democrats, who also bow before, for example, banking and finance leaders.)
 

State Office Last Name First Name Party Anti-
Freedom
Score
Pro-
Corporate
Score
Public
Citizen
Score
Alabama Rep Bonner Jo R 100 93 10
  Rep Roby Martha R 100 94 10
  Rep Rogers Michael R 100 91 10
  Rep Bachus Spencer R 100 91 10
Arizona Rep Gosar Paul R 100 94 10
  Rep Quayle Ben R 100 93 10
Arkansas Rep Crawford Rick R 100 100 10
  Rep Griffin Tim R 100 100 10
  Rep Womack Steve R 100 100 10
California Rep Herger Wally R 100 91 10
  Rep Denham Jeffrey R 100 94 20
  Rep Nunes Devin R 100 93 10
  Rep McCarthy Kevin R 100 92 10
  Rep Gallegly Elton R 100 92 10
  Rep McKeon  Howard R 100 95 10
  Rep Dreier David R 100 94 10
  Rep Miller Gary R 100 96  10
  Rep Calvert Ken R 100 97 10
  Rep Issa Darrell R 100 93 10
Colorado Rep Tipton Scott R 100 94 10
  Rep Gardner Cory R 100 100 10
Florida  Rep  Crenshaw  Ander  R 100  95  10
  Rep Nugent  Richard  R 100  100  10
  Rep Mica  John  R 100  92  10
  Rep Ross  Dennis  R 100  94  10
  Rep Posey  Bill  R 100  90  20
  Rep Rooney  Tom  R 100  92  10
  Rep West  Allen  R 100  94  10
Illinois Rep Kinzinger  Adam  R 100  100  10
  Rep Schock  Aaron  R 100  95  10
Indiana  Rep Rokita  Todd  R 100  94 10
  Rep Bucshon  Larry  R 100  100  10
Iowa  Rep Latham  Tom  R 100  95  10
Kansas Rep Jenkins  Lynn  R 100  92  10
  Rep Yoder  Kevin  R 100  94  10
  Rep Pompeo  Mike  R 100  100  10
Kentucky Rep Whitfield  Ed  R 100  93  10
Louisiana  Rep Cassidy  Bill  R 100  96  10
  Rep Boustany  Charles  R 100  91  10
Michigan  Rep Huizenga  Bill  R 100  100  10
  Rep Camp  Dave  R 100  96  20
  Rep Walberg  Tim  R 100  93  10
  Rep Rogers  Mike  R 100  94  0
  Rep Miller  Candice  R 100  93  10
Minnesota Rep Kline  John  R 100  93  10
  Rep Paulssen  Erik  R 100  92  10
Mississippi Rep Nunnelee  Patrick  R 100  94  10
  Rep Palazzo  Steven  R 100  100  10
Missouri Rep Long  Billy  R 100  100  10
Nebraska Rep Terry  Lee  R 100  92  20
  Rep Smith  Adrian  R 100  92  10
New Hampshire   Rep Guinta  Frank  R 100  100  10
New Jersey Rep Runyan  Jon  R 100  94  10
  Rep Lance  Leonard  R 100  92  10
New York   Rep Reed  Tom  R 100  100  10
North Carolina Rep Ellmers  Renee  R 100  94  20
  Rep Myrick Sue R 100 90 20
North Dakota Rep Berg Rick R 100 100 10
Ohio Rep Johnson Bill R 100 100 10
  Rep Austria Steve R 100 92 10
  Rep Boehner John R 100 93 N/A
  Rep Tiberi Patrick R 100 95 10
  Rep Stivers Steve R 100 100 10
  Rep Gibbs Bob R 100 100 10
Oklahoma Rep Lucas Frank R 100 93 10
  Rep Cole Tom R 100 94 10
  Rep Lankford James R 100 100 10
Oregon Rep Walden Greg R 100 94 10
Pennsylvania Rep Kelly Mike R 100 100 10
  Rep Thompson Glenn R 100 90 10
  Rep Gerlach Jim R 100 91 10
  Rep Shuster William R 100 94 0
  Rep Marino Thomas R 100 100 10
  Rep Barletta Lou R 100 100 10
  Rep Pitts Joseph R 100 92 10
  Rep Murphy Timothy R 100 92 10
South Carolina Rep Scott Tim R 100 94 10
South Dakota Rep Noem Kristi R 100 100 10
Tennessee Rep Fleischmann Chuck R 100 94 10
  Rep DesJarlais Scott R 100 94 10
  Rep Black Diane R 100 100 10
  Rep Fincher Stephen R 100 100 10
Texas Rep Johnson Sam R 100 92 10
  Rep Barton Joe R 100 91 10
  Rep Brady Kevin R 100 92 10
  Rep McCaul Michael R 100 93 10
  Rep Granger Kay R 100 95 10
  Rep Thornberry William R 100 91 10
  Rep Flores Bill R 100 100 10
  Rep Smith Lamar R 100 93 10
  Rep Canseco Francisco R 100 100 10
  Rep Farenthold Blake R 100 100 10
  Rep Carter John R 100 92 10
  Rep Sessions Peter R 100 92 10
Virginia Rep Rigell Scott R 100 100 10
  Rep Hurt Robert R 100 94 20
  Rep Goodlatte Bob R 100 92 10
  Rep Cantor Eric R 100 93 10
Washington Rep Hastings Doc R 100 95 10
  Rep McMorris Cathy R 100 91 10
West Virginia Rep Capito Shelley R 100 90 10
Wisconsin Rep Ryan Paul R 100 94 10
  Rep Duffy Sean R 100 100 10

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Remove these legislators from office, particularly those coded red, and America could begin to become the democracy that it is supposed to be.

And Now for the Good News . . .

After browsing through the rogues' gallery above, one might be left with the impression that nobody in Congress is doing what they were sent there to do — represent the political and economic interests of their electorates - American citizens.  The only significant exception to this trend, again this year, is provided by the Progressive Caucus, far and away the Congressional group doing the most for working Americans. Its members once again represent the Congressional best.

The Progressive Caucus Newsletter

Sources of the scores:

The US Chamber of Commerce
The American Civil Liberties Union
Public Citizen

Each of these scores, in turn, was based upon actual legislative votes. To see the legislation in question, please visit the respective sites (but be aware that, the last time we looked, there was malware at the USCoC site).

October, 2013 Update on the Worst American Politicans

Our view is that the government shutdown effort reflected partisan politics at its very worst, and that a vote for the shutdown reflected both extreme partisanship and extraordinarily poor judgment, as well as a character disposition to temper tantrums.

In light of that perspective, we wondered how the nominees of our earlier "worst list" would fare. The table below reveals those nominees who voted for the government shutdown, and also shows which are members of the Tea Party Caucus. In some cases, the Representative has left office since our previous assessment and so didn't vote. We've highlighted those Reps in green.

State Office Last Name First Name Party Voted to Shutdown Gov't ? Pro-
Corporate
Score
Tea Party Member
Alabama Rep Bonner Jo R      
  Rep Roby Martha R Yes 94 No
  Rep Rogers Michael R Yes 91 No
  Rep Bachus Spencer R Yes 91 No
Arizona Rep Gosar Paul R Yes 94 Yes
  Rep Quayle Ben R   93  
Arkansas Rep Crawford Rick R Yes 100 No
  Rep Griffin Tim R Yes 100 No
  Rep Womack Steve R Yes 100 No
California Rep Herger Wally R   91  
  Rep Denham Jeffrey R Yes 94 Yes
  Rep Nunes Devin R Yes 93 No
  Rep McCarthy Kevin R Yes 92 No
  Rep Gallegly Elton R   92  
  Rep McKeon  Howard R Yes 95 No
  Rep Dreier David R   94  
  Rep Miller Gary R Yes 96  Yes
  Rep Calvert Ken R Yes 97 No
  Rep Issa Darrell R Yes 93 No
Colorado Rep Tipton Scott R Yes 94 No
  Rep Gardner Cory R Yes 100 Yes
Florida  Rep  Crenshaw  Ander  R ? 95  Yes
  Rep Nugent  Richard  R Yes 100  Yes
  Rep Mica  John  R Yes  92  No
  Rep Ross  Dennis  R Yes  94  Yes
  Rep Posey  Bill  R Yes  90  No
  Rep Rooney  Tom  R Yes  92  No
  Rep West  Allen  R   94   
Illinois Rep Kinzinger  Adam  R Yes 100  No
  Rep Schock  Aaron  R Yes  95  No
Indiana  Rep Rokita  Todd  R Yes 94 No
  Rep Bucshon  Larry  R Yes  100  No
Iowa  Rep Latham  Tom  R Yes 95  No
Kansas Rep Jenkins  Lynn  R Yes  92  Yes
  Rep Yoder  Kevin  R Yes  94  No
  Rep Pompeo  Mike  R Yes  100  No
Kentucky Rep Whitfield  Ed  R Yes  93  No
Louisiana  Rep Cassidy  Bill  R Yes  96  Yes
  Rep Boustany  Charles  R Yes  91  No
Michigan  Rep Huizenga  Bill  R Yes  100  No
  Rep Camp  Dave  R Yes 96  No
  Rep Walberg  Tim  R Yes  93  Yes
  Rep Rogers  Mike  R Yes  94  No
  Rep Miller  Candice  R Yes  93  No
Minnesota Rep Kline  John  R Yes  93  No
  Rep Paulsen  Erik  R Yes  92  No
Mississippi Rep Nunnelee  Patrick  R Yes  94  No
  Rep Palazzo  Steven  R Yes  100  Yes
Missouri Rep Long  Billy  R Yes 100  Yes
Nebraska Rep Terry  Lee  R Yes  92  No
  Rep Smith  Adrian  R Yes 92  Yes
New Hampshire   Rep Guinta  Frank  R   100   
New Jersey Rep Runyan  Jon  R Yes  94  No
  Rep Lance  Leonard  R Yes  92  No
New York   Rep Reed  Tom  R Yes  100  No
North Carolina Rep Ellmers  Renee  R Yes  94  No
  Rep Myrick Sue R ? 90 Yes
North Dakota Rep Berg Rick R   100  
Ohio Rep Johnson Bill R Yes 100 No
  Rep Austria Steve R   92  
  Rep Boehner John R ? 93 No
  Rep Tiberi Patrick R Yes 95 No
  Rep Stivers Steve R Yes 100 No
  Rep Gibbs Bob R Yes 100 No
Oklahoma Rep Lucas Frank R Yes 93 No
  Rep Cole Tom R Yes 94 No
  Rep Lankford James R Yes 100 Yes
Oregon Rep Walden Greg R Yes 94 No
Pennsylvania Rep Kelly Mike R Yes 100 Yes
  Rep Thompson Glenn R Yes 90 No
  Rep Gerlach Jim R Yes 91 No
  Rep Shuster William R Yes 94 No
  Rep Marino Thomas R Yes 100 No
  Rep Barletta Lou R Yes 100 No
  Rep Pitts Joseph R Yes 92 No
  Rep Murphy Timothy R Yes 92 No
South Carolina Rep Scott Tim R   94  
South Dakota Rep Noem Kristi R Yes 100 No
Tennessee Rep Fleischmann Chuck R Yes 94 No
  Rep DesJarlais Scott R Yes 94 Yes
  Rep Black Diane R Yes 100 Yes
  Rep Fincher Stephen R Yes 100 Yes
Texas Rep Johnson Sam R Yes 92 No
  Rep Barton Joe R Yes 91 Yes
  Rep Brady Kevin R Yes 92 No
  Rep McCaul Michael R Yes 93 No
  Rep Granger Kay R Yes 95 No
  Rep Thornberry William R Yes 91 No
  Rep Flores Bill R Yes 100 No
  Rep Smith Lamar R Yes 93 Yes
  Rep Canseco Francisco R   100 Yes
  Rep Farenthold Blake R Yes 100 Yes
  Rep Carter John R Yes 92 Yes
  Rep Sessions Peter R Yes 92 Yes
Virginia Rep Rigell Scott R Yes 100 No
  Rep Hurt Robert R Yes 94 No
  Rep Goodlatte Bob R Yes 92 No
  Rep Cantor Eric R Yes 93 Yes
Washington Rep Hastings Doc R Yes 95 No
  Rep McMorris Cathy R Yes 91 No
West Virginia Rep Capito Shelley R Yes 90 No
Wisconsin Rep Ryan Paul R Yes 94 No
  Rep Duffy Sean R Yes 100 No

So, in every single case where a vote was cast, and we know what vote was cast, the Representatives on our "worst" list voted to shut down the government.

Of the 103 worst listed, 11 are no longer serving as reps; of the remaining 92 Reps, 26 (28%) are Tea Party Caucus members. As there are 114 Tea Part Representatives, this represents almost a quarter of their strength, and shows that the Tea Party cannot be said to be either populist or libertarian, as the 26 listed here represent the polar opposite of both of these positions. And if 28% of the Tea Party membership is fascist, then the claim that they are conservative in any normal sense of that term is also strongly open to question.

Irrespective of any assessment of the Tea Party, we continue to feel very strongly vindicated in our original choice of the worst American politicians: the 92 Reps still serving continue to exhibit an extremely strong prediliction for extremist, fringe politics of a sort Americans should never tolerate. If they were all removed from office, America could become a vastly better place, and the possibility of any future government shutdown would effectively be eliminated.

The Last, Least, and Very Worst American Politician

In this crowd of unusually awful politcians, there are just two that Public Citizen has awarded zeroes to. One of them is Mike Rogers, of Michigan's 8th District.

Mike Rogers - worst politician of all
Mike Rogers - the worst of the
worst of the worst of American politicians.

A close observer of Rogers has commented: "The truly destructive nature of Rogers' tenure as the 8th Congressional district's representative in Congress is far worse than just his voting record would indicate. Rogers' grotesque role in the Republican culture of corruption goes way beyond the tainted funds he has received from crooks like DeLay, Boehner, Blunt and Team Abramoff (around $50,000). Rogers is one of the most bought-off politicans by Big Business of any congressman of either party. And he serves their interests well - much to the detriment of his central Michigan constituents.

"Although Michigan Mike has led a jihad against any government oversight of the gas and oil industries, always votes to give them huge taxpayer subsidies, and fanatically fought all attempts to stop gasoline price gouging - for which the oil and gas industries have rewarded him with over $150,000 in legal bribes - an even more egregious and repulsive role Mike has claimed for himself is as affordable health care's worst enemy in the entire Congress. But after taking $300,000 in legal bribes from Big Pharma and HMOs, is this a shock to anyone?"

But in our view Rogers is, incredibly, even worse than the dismal impression Public Citizen or this commentator might convey. The hyper-corrupt Rogers is the Representative whom the Republican Party has put in charge of the House Intelligence Committee. He has called for the death penalty for Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, virulently attacked Glenn Greenwald, nearly the only journalist actually exercising some degree of extra-congressional oversight over the NSA, and is the sponsor of CISPA, a corporate bill to permit unlimited and secret corporate access to NSA intelligence. A more comprehensively fascist outlook isn't conceivable.

And we find it especially interesting to note that, of all Representatives, Republicans should choose the hyper-fascist Rogers to head up the committee tasked with oversight of the NSA's domestic spying programs. We smell corruption on a far grander scale around this issue than few as yet have even begun to suspect.


Fed up with the direction American politics has been headed? See: The 10 Best Things to Do About Corrupt Politics

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