Elizabeth Dole is a Senate Parasite

With the 2008 senate elections still in their dormant summer phase I started to experiment with a ratings system. I started with the greenhorns elected for the first time in 2002; there are nine in total with seven Republicans. The basic notation I landed on, which may be too idealistic, is that the performance of a senator actually has an effect on their reelection efforts. Heading over to the Library of Congress the data gathering began, by hand. I started by defining what a good, or for that matter, bad performance entails. I initially started by analyzing each senators voting record, but ultimately decided that this course would result in the introduction of partisanship.

I needed to find a way to concretely rate the senators based on their actions, but not necessarily their beliefs. I settled on this formula: The average number of cosponsors present on a bill that is inducted into law in which a given senator is also a (co)sponsor. The basic rationale behind this formula attempts to gauge the extent to which a given senator individually participates in the law making process. The general hypothesis is that a lower average will indicate a larger contribution, and a higher number will indicate less participation. I tabulated the results for all nine first time senators up for reelection in 2008 along with some other, more prominent names for use as a measuring stick. All data was gathered from the 108th, 109th, and 110th congresses.

 Senator State Party Elected Avg # of Sponsors Ted Kennedy Massachusets Democrat 1962 23.397 John Cornyn Texas Republican 2002 31.138 Chuck Hagel Neberaska Republican 1996 33.302 John E. Sununu New Hampshire Republican 2002 33.688 Larry Craig Idaho Republican 1990 34.852 Saxby Chambliss Georgia Republican 2002 35.172 Frank Lautenberg New Jersey Democrat 2002 37.194 Lamar Alexander Tennessee Republican 2002 38.727 Norm Coleman Minnesota Republican 2002 40.459 Mark Pryor Arkansas Democrat 2002 44.357 Lindsey Graham South Carolina Republican 2002 45.323 Elizabeth Dole North Carolina Republican 2002 49.750

As you can seen from the table Ted Kennedy remains a senate legend. Ted Kennedy scores very low for two reasons; first he is a seven term, second in seniority senator and he solo authors many bills that eventually become law. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Elizabeth Dole, who appears to be useless. On a further analysis of her record, the only bill to become law that she has personally written focuses on the redrawing of coral reef on maps in the Atlantic Ocean. Is that seriously the most important issue right now; the answer's no. Back on track, based on this small sample set it appears that a lower average is in fact superior, but it remains unclear to what extent this holds true and if the average has any correlation to a senator's reelection bid. I should also point out that Frank Lautenberg served as a senator in the 1990s before retiring.

My results cannot be ruled conclusive, although they are interesting. However, the aftermath leads me to believe a more thorough analysis of this application would yield a fascinating outcome, but the data is sparse. There is no way to automate the calculation process. The Library of Congress has a thorough database of legislative data, but it unfortunately is not programmatically available. I may get ambitious in the future and manually start developing an open database from the Library of Congress' site.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.

2 Response(s) to Elizabeth Dole is a Senate Parasite

1
Anonymous
9/6/2008 7:40:21 PM CT

Will you be expanding on this to other classes, including, say Obama and McCain? :-)
2
bond
9/7/2008 3:35:41 PM CT

There are more foolish people than smart people in this country. That worries me. Think about it. They voted for the current administration twice,, TWICE! Not once, but TWICE. They are planning to do it again.
Obama answers questions with intellectual facts. That's good for the smart people, but if he is going to win, he has to use very simple small words for the sake of many foolish voters to understand. He needs to use words like "Pitbull with Lipstick" ,, start every answer with "my friends" over and over just to connect with the not so smart,,,you know, such like language. He must stop telling complicated algorithms to show how he will repair the economy. And please, tell them the surge worked. Don't waste time explaining the Sunni and Shiite and Anbar awakening. That way, the foolish voters will catch up with the issues in very simple terms.
Iowa, Minnesota and Oregon are the most educated states in this commonwealth. They already got it. It is states like West Virginia that are challenged beyond intellectual shallowness. Ado to illiteracy, they also tend to see things in color. If you know what that means.