Most people know that a politician is lying anytime he opens his mouth. Yet people will often accept a political organization’s candidate rating as factual. How many times have you heard somebody say, “He has an NRA A rating so you know he’s good?” Many political organizations base their ratings on surveys that are sent to candidates, meaning the organization’s ratings are based on the words of a politicians. If you can’t trust what a politician says why would you trust what they put on a survey. When you’re looking at a political organization’s candidate rating you should always check their methodology.
Campaign for Liberty recently released their candidate ratings. Kurt Bills received a perfect score, which is being touted around by many people in the liberty movement as proof that Bills is a true liberty activist. His rating was determined by a survey filled out by him or somebody in his office. It’s effectively meaningless because it’s saying that Kurt Bills believes Kurt Bills is a true liberty candidate. I’m glad Kurt Bills says he’s a liberty candidate but I have a hard time believing that a candidate who voted in favor of making the prohibition against same-sex marriages constitutional, endorsed Mitt Romney, and blames voters for voting for their preferred candidate cares about liberty.
Not all political organizations base their ratings on the claims of candidates. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) base their ratings on the both the statements of politicians and their actions [PDF]. For example, they grant Obama a score of one in regards to Guantanamo Bay because he backtracked on his promise to close the prison facility. I put more faith into ratings that are based on a politician’s actions instead of their words.
When looking at candidate ratings from political organizations make sure you check that organization’s methodology. Many organizations base their ratings on the claims of the candidates whereas others will look at the actions. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.