Back in September, some agitators bearing the faint scent of Birch published the "South Dakota Freedom Index," an attempt to score South Dakota's state legislators by their fidelity to "freedom" on ten key votes during the 2011 Legislative Session. That scorecard concluded that Republican stalwarts like Senators Larry Tidemann, Dan Lederman, and Al Novstrup don't defend freedom any better than Democrats like Senators Angie Buhl and Billie Sutton. On the House side, the Freedom Index scored Republican Rep. Roger Hunt the same as Democratic Rep. Frank Kloucek and gave GOP Rep. Charlie Hoffman only a 50%. (Come on: Rep. Hoffman reads blogs: he's got to be at least a 60%!)
Now another anonymous scoring of South Dakota's legislators hits the blogwaves. A new (registered last Wednesday) website, SDRepublican.org, e-mails me and who knows how many other media outlets seeking publicity for its new Republican Platform Voting Scorecard (sorted by district and by score). This scorecard rates each of South Dakota's 105 legislators based on their votes on 20 bills from the 2011 Session and the fidelity of those votes to the South Dakota GOP Platform.
The results? As was the case with September's Freedom Index, the Republican Platform Voting Scorecard gives the highest scores in the House to Reps. Betty Olson and Stace Nelson, who each cast just one wrong vote (both on corporate welfare). Rep. Kloucek is the highest-ranked House Democrat, voting the Republican party line on 60% of the sampled votes (Frank! We need to talk!). 22 of the House's 50 Republicans score below 50%. The least Republican Republican: Rep. Tad Perry from Ft. Pierre, who scores a meager 15%, tied with Democratic Reps. Larry Lucas and Sue Wismer for rock-bottom (way to go, Larry and Sue!).
Only five Senators manage to score higher than 50% fidelity with the GOP platform. Amazingly, the second-highest score, 57%, goes to Democrat leader Senator Jason Frerichs. 13 of the Senate's 30 Republicans score worse than all of the Senate Democrats in fiedlity to their own platform.
The two scorecards track pretty closely: dropping Rep. Elaine Elliott (who missed too many votes to get a Freedom Index score), the two scorecards get a 0.81 correlation, which means it's a safe bet that if a legislator scores high on one, he or she will score high on the other.
The folks behind the Republican scorecard apparently represent the far right wing of the Republican party. On their scorecard, they mention "Bills against ObamaCare, Illegal Immigration and Sharia Law" as key legislation that should have been given a floor vote. Picking those three issues makes these folks sound like Jason Bjorklund, auditioning for conservative talk radio rather than focusing on bread-and-butter state-level issues.
Speaking of Bjorklund, while steadfastly refusing to identify themselves, the SDRepublican.org agitators provide links to an assortment of 9/12 Projects, Tea Parties, and theocrats in South Dakota. These right-wing leanings certainly color the group's interpretation of the Republican Party platform.
But these folks claim the mantle of "Republican," so it's as much their platform as anyone else's. Let's see now if these scorecarders will step out from behind their curtain and send delegates to next summer's convention with their scorecards in hand to ride herd on the RINOs.
Update 18:33 MST: As I review my comments for the day, I find Steve Sibson citing Rep. Charlie Hoffman's 37% GOP Platform score four hours before I received the media release on SDRepublican.org. Coincidence?