Last Friday, National Journal reported that, according to their vote ratings, Massachusetts Senator and Democratic nomination frontrunner John Kerry “was the most liberal senator” in 2003. One of the most telling aspects of Kerry’s top-ranking is the fact that he blew his liberal cohort from Massachusetts, Teddy Kennedy, out of the water. Kennedy did not even break into the top ten, finishing as the eleventh-most liberal. Of course, none of this is a surprise to readers of Human Events Online (check out this Page 3 item on Kerry “The More Liberal Senator from Massachusetts”). But it is an unacknowledgeable fact for Terry McAuliffe, the head of the Democratic National Committee, and the good senator himself. Check out McAuliffe’s dodges in this exchange with a “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace:
WALLACE: . . . The very respected National Journal came out with its vote rankings, its vote ratings for the year 2003. And it found that John Kerry was the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate. In fact, it’s found that on economic policy issues, he had a perfect liberal voting record. Fair to say that John Kerry is a liberal? MCAULIFFE: Well, this campaign is not going to be about different types of liberal, conservative — I don’t want this campaign to be fought about labels. We can talk about John Kerry, and I’m proud to do it all day. This election, Chris, I hate to tell you, is going to be about George Bush. This election’s going to be about George Bush having lost 3 million jobs since he’s been president. This is about a president who believes that outsourcing, sending our jobs overseas, is a good thing. I just got back from Fort Smith, Arkansas, the whirlpool plant, their jobs just went to Mexico. Don’t tell these people it’s a good thing… WALLACE: But, Mr. McAuliffe, what about this question about the fact that he has this liberal voting record? I’m not saying that’s good or bad, but… MCAULIFFE: Chris, this is what the campaign’s going to be about. John Kerry, if he’s our nominee — and I remind you that John Edwards is still running a vigorous campaign — but if John Kerry is the nominee, this is what the campaign will be all about. If you think you’ve had a good deal with George Bush and he’s helped you over the last three years with job losses, now they want to cut Social Security, give the top 1 percent a permanent tax cut, I mean, go right ahead.
Sen. Kerry won’t even admit he’s a liberal. Here’s how he attempted to avoid the question from the New York Times‘ Elizabeth Bumiller during the Democratic debate last Sunday:
BUMILLER: . . . The National Journal, a respected, non-ideologic publication covering Congress, as you both know, has just rated you, Senator Kerry, number one, the most liberal senator in the Senate. . . . How can you hope to win with this kind of characterization, in this climate? KERRY: Because it’s a laughable characterization. It’s absolutely the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in my life. BUMILLER: Are you a liberal? KERRY: Let me just… BUMILLER: Are you a liberal? KERRY: … to the characterization. I mean, look, labels are so silly in American politics. I was one of the first Democrats in the United States Senate in 1985 to join with Fritz Hollings in deficit reduction. Now, does that make me a conservative? I fought to put 100,000 police officers on the streets of America. Am I a conservative? BUMILLER: But, Senator Kerry, the question is… KERRY: I know. You don’t let us finish answering questions. […] Do you know what they measured in that? First of all, they measured 62 votes. I voted 37 times; 25 votes they didn’t even count because I wasn’t there to vote for them. Secondly, secondly, they counted my voting against the Medicare bill, which is a terrible bill for seniors in America, they called that being liberal. Lots of conservatives voted against that. In addition, they counted my voting against George Bush’s tax cut that we can’t afford. I thought it was fiscally conservative to vote against George Bush’s tax cut. They call it liberal. BUMILLER: Is this a helpful characterization in this campaign? KERRY: I think it’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.
Sen. Kerry, if you’re going to have the audacity to be a liberal, at least have the courage to admit it.