Tag: congressional ratings

Sarah Palin Needs New Glasses

Sarah Palin has endorsed Carly Fiorina for U.S. Senate in California, showing commendable charity toward a woman who gave her one of her many Bad Headline Days in September 2008 by telling an interviewer that Palin wouldn’t be qualified to run a major company. (Fiorina did add, “But you know what? That’s not what she’s running for.”)

Palin is way off base, though, when she writes:

I support Carly as she fights through a tough primary against a liberal member of the GOP who seems to bear almost no difference to Boxer, one of the most leftwing members of the Senate.

Ignoring conservative Chuck DeVore, who probably has the support of a lot of Palin fans, Palin is taking aim at frontrunning former congressman Tom Campbell. But if her aim was that far off on a moose hunt, she’d come back empty-handed. Tom Campbell is often described as a moderate Republican, and sometimes as a (moderately) libertarian Republican. But he’s certainly no liberal, and it’s just nuts to say that he’s no different from Barbara Boxer. Here are the ratings that Boxer and Campbell received from various rating organizations in 2000, the last year they were both in Congress:

Campbell Boxer
Americans for Democratic Action 20 85
Republican Liberty Caucus 79.5 16
American Conservative Union 64 4
National Taxpayers Union 73 (21st in House) 14 (73rd in Senate)
Campbell’s record isn’t perfect from either a conservative or a libertarian perspective. But anybody who can look at the respective records of Tom Campbell and Barbara Boxer and see “almost no difference” needs new glasses.

How Many Senators Are More Liberal than the Socialist One?

In a profile of the poetry-reading chief of staff to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the Washington Post calls Sanders not only “the only socialist in the U.S. Congress,” but also “surely [the Senate’s] most liberal [member].” Surely. I mean, he’s a socialist, right? (And by the way, that isn’t a label that Sanders rejects.)

Well, maybe not. According to the National Taxpayers Union, 42 senators in 2008 voted to spend more tax dollars than socialist Bernie Sanders. They include his neighbor Pat Leahy; Californians Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, who just can’t understand why their home state is in fiscal trouble; and the Eastern Seaboard anti-taxpayer Murderers’ Row of Kerry, Dodd, Lieberman, Clinton, Schumer, Lautenberg, Menendez, Carper, Biden, Cardin, and Mikulski. Don’t carry cash on Amtrak! Not to mention Blanche Lambert Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who apparently think Arkansans don’t pay taxes so federal spending is free. Sen. Barack Obama didn’t vote often enough to get a rating in 2008, but in 2007 he managed to be one of the 11 senators who voted for more spending than the socialist senator.

Meanwhile, the American Conservative Union rated 11 senators more liberal than Sanders in 2008, including Biden, Boxer, Feinstein, and again the georgraphically confused Mark Pryor. The Republican Liberty Caucus declared 14 senators, including Sanders, to have voted 100 percent anti-economic freedom in 2008, though Sanders voted better than 31 colleagues in support of personal liberties.  The liberal Americans for Democratic Action provides more support for the Post’s claim, rating Sanders 100 percent liberal. Most raters, though, don’t see it that way. In this compilation of ratings from left-leaning interest groups, 17 senators get higher scores than Sanders.

It almost seems that an avowed socialist is middle-of-the-road among Senate Democrats.