Did you hear that Barack Obama is the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate? At least according to the National Journal, a wonkish political magazine that circulates mostly around Washington, D.C.
While I don’t have a problem with people being “liberal” per se, I am highly suspicious of this latest designation by the magazine which seems to always determine that whoever is the Democratic Party nominee for president is also “the most liberal”. In 2004, the magazine determined that John Kerry was the “most liberal” member of the Senate.
Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly explains the flaws in the National Journal’s methodology.
Sure, Obama is liberal. I think that is fine. But you can’t tell me he is the most liberal in a Senate that includes Bernie Sanders, the avowed Socialist from Vermont. Plus, there are a number of other Senators who are known to be more highly partisan and ideological than Mr. Obama. So how did he get tagged as the most liberal?
Simple, he spent a lot of time last year campaigning for president and missed a lot of votes. And because the National Journal’s methodology is screwed up and doesn’t account for missed votes, he came out on top. The same exact thing happened four years ago with John Kerry.
But don’t expect to hear that explanation attached to all the media reports about this. And, of course, it will become the standard line in every Repubican stump speech and political ad from here on out.