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A new group is purporting to rate lawmakers as conservatives, yet their results are surprising. As the Dallas Morning News noted, “establishment Republicans” who vote badly can claim a conservative rating. It signals the strength of the conservative movement in Texas that philosophically weak legislators are looking for help covering up their representational records.

"Moderates have set up their own bizzaro 'conservative' scorecards for campaign season, the season when moderates pretend to be conservatives."

Don’t get me wrong, we like having lots of voices in political debates, and we want more folks looking at the legislative process. We always encourage voters to look at the ratings and awards issued by multiple groups and organizations. Doing so provides the most well rounded view of a legislator’s record.

 

But at some point there needs to be a little truth in advertising. And this new group is failing on both marks. The peculiar timing and messaging of this new group’s arrival on the scene makes it suspect to many — including the holders of the state’s oldest and most robust scorecard, the Young Conservatives of Texas.

 

This new organization calls themselves the “Texas Conservative Roundtable.” They formed just a few weeks ago, and immediately issued a rating of legislators’ votes from the previous session.

 

Frankly, their rating is a joke. These votes were picked to give big-spending, grow-government moderates a misleading award — but absent any conservative substance.

 

For our Fiscal Responsibility Index, we tell the public (including legislators) what the issues will be before the legislative session begins. Then we talk about the bills and the votes to be included, and actually remind legislators in advance of the vote or issue. It’s a completely transparent process.

 

The moderate roundtable has instead tried to shore-up support for low-rated legislators (and especially the confidants of Speaker Joe Straus) by bestowing “conservative” honors on members who are anything but.

 

Fortunately, grassroots leaders and voters aren’t being misled by this blatant attempt to hijack the conservative brand. E-mails, blog posts — heck, even the Dallas Morning News — is calling this out for what it is: a nice name, but a shoddy moderate message.

 

The president of the influential Golden Corridor Republican Women referred to the roundtable’s scorecard as:

…an establishment tactic to try to re-define the moderates as conservatives

and

…smoke and mirrors to create an illusion which is an insult to all true conservatives.

 

Having new political groups forming is great news, but this group appears to be little more than a front-group shilling for establishment-oriented, big-government Republicans.

 

As in all things: voters beware!