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Tim Carney | Conservatism didn’t fare too badly in 2012 election

Election 2012 was a drubbing for Republicans of all stripes. Of course, the liberal media and the GOP establishment draw the same lesson from this election that they draw from every election: Conservatives need to be neutered, and moderates need to be elevated.

But the two most conservative candidates running for federal office both won: Jeff Flake and Ted Cruz. Over six terms in the House, Flake racked up an American Conservative Union score of 96.73. Along with Ron Paul, Flake typically topped the scorecard of the National Taxpayers Union. He also regularly posted 100 percent scores from National Right to Life.

Flake is not only roundly conservative, he has no qualms about defying Republican mandarins. He was comfortable in tiny minorities opposing popular measures. He also was the founding father of the House "Anti-Appropriators," a tiny caucus of Appropriations Committee members who repeatedly voted on the floor against their leadership and who used their committee perch not to bring home pork, but to try to reduce spending.


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