The following essay is one I wrote for Professor Pitney's Honors Government. In it, I go after Andrew Lee's (CMC '07) creation, Fantasy Congress, as being too focused on legislation. Here is Lee and Fantasy Congress crew in The New York Times. (Written to address the legislation and co-sponsorship points, I'll probably issue a critique of news points at some point in the near future depending on the volume of comments.)
Barry Goldwater Would Not Have Scored Points: Real Congressional Leadership is Stopping Laws, Not Passing Them
My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwanted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents ‘interests,’ I shall replay that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.
With views like this one, Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona) would have won few Fantasy Congress legislative or cosponsor points. Though Goldwater had comparatively and characteristically few legislative acts, but he led an entire movement. His bestselling book, The Conscience of a Conservative, influences American conservatives long after his death.
In his ill-fated run for President, he would have won fewer news points than today’s candidates. Unlike current presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, John McCain, Duncan Hunter, Bill Richardson, Barack Obama, Tom Tancredo, Ron Paul, (and until recently,) Sam Brownback who win news points as members of congress (MCs) for press they get as presidential candidates, Goldwater would not have won news points in Andrew Lee’s Fantasy Congress. On principle, he resigned his Senate seat to pursue the Presidency in 1964.
His maverick points would have been hard to score. While he personally disliked Nixon – he once quipped that “Nixon can go to
His “defeat” before the U.S. Supreme Court in Goldwater v. Carter (1979) would also be hard to score in Lee’s point system. In 1979, when President Carter stripped
So how can Goldwater, one of the most influential senators of our time, fail on almost every single one of Lee’s points? Might it be that Lee favors the quantity of legislation to its quantity and that he favors legislation over leadership?
One of the highest point scorers in Fantasy Congress is Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV). Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named the “King of Pork” after he became the first person since 1991 to help obtain more than $1 billion in pork for his state. Byrd wields his position in the Appropriations committee to pass legislation at the taxpayer’s expense. Oftentimes, he names federal buildings and expressways after himself. If this legislation is the kind that would win points in Fantasy Congress, the taxpayer is better off without it.
Fantasy Congress’s flaw is that it undervalues other forms of leadership. Lee's point system ignores senate investigations, backroom deals, or stopped legislation. Fantasy Congress’s point system hinges upon legislation, but if MCs rarely read the bills, how can it be considered leadership that they got them passed?
None of these actions would have scored points: Senator Fulbright, who brought oversight to the Vietnam War’s prosecution, Senator McCarthy, who rightly or wrongly brought oversight to the Communist infiltration of American government, and Congressman James E. Rogan who managed
Other more recent actions would also not get points, despite their importance to the body politic. The Republican leadership would have won no points for stopping the foolish nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, nor would those who defeated President Bush’s immigration bill. The Democratic leadership would have won no points by stopping Ted Olson’s confirmation as Attorney General or for their investigation of the firing of U.S. Attorneys. The Gang of 14, which preserved the filibuster for presidential appointees, would not have won any points, despite preserving a vital Senate tool. Presumably Joe Lieberman (I –
 Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1960, 2007), 15.
 David R. Mayhew,
 See generally J. William Middendorf II, A Glorious Disaster: Barry Goldwater’s Presidential Campaign and the Origins of the Conservative Movement, (
Accessed at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/remember/1998/goldwater_5-29a.html (Last accessed 11/12/2007).
 Adam Clymer, “Barry Goldwater, Conservative and Individualist, Dies at 89,” New York Times, May 29, 1998. (Accessed at http://www.nytimes.com/books/01/04/01/specials/goldwater-obit.html. Last accessed at 11/14/2007)
 Alona E. Evans, “Judicial Decisions: Goldwater v. Carter,” The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 74, No. 2 (April 1980), 441 – 447.
 http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=news_byrddroppings Last accessed November 14, 2007.
 He still caucuses with the Democrats, however technically he’s still an Independent.