August 7, 2004

On July 10, the Journal’s Richard E. Cohen (not the Post columnist) tried to explain the pleasing facts which so many scribes have been peddling. Are Kerry and Edwards really first and fourth most liberal? That rating is based on calendar year 2003, when both senators—campaigning for the White House—missed large numbers of the 62 votes the Journal used for its tabulations. (Kerry missed 37 of the 62 votes; Edwards missed 22.) Writing in the rag Goldberg loves, Cohen laid out the big picture:

COHEN: The bigger picture presents a more nuanced view of the two senators on the Democratic presidential ticket. Since joining the Senate in 1985, Kerry has compiled a “lifetime average” composite liberal score of 85.7 in NJ's vote ratings. Ten other current senators have a lifetime composite liberal score that is higher than Kerry’S. (See NJ, 3/6/04, p. 679.) Meanwhile, Edwards, who first joined the Senate in 1999, has a lifetime composite liberal score of 75.7, a number that puts him in the moderate wing of his party.

“By any measure of his votes,” Carlson said, Kerry is “the most liberal member of the Senate.” When GOP hacks say that Kerry and Edwards are first and fourth most liberal senators, they are citing a survey from National Journal. But on March 6, that very same Journal—explicitly responding to this misleading claimpublished its list of current senators with the most liberal lifetime voting records. Here it is—the Journal’s Top Ten. Guess whose names aren’t on it?

National Journal: Most liberal senators, lifetime voting
1. Mark Dayton, D-Minn.
2. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md.
3. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
4. Jon Corzine, D-N.J.
5. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
6. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
7. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
8. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
9. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
10. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt

We would like to thank the Daily Howler for this piece of info.

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