Time's 10 Best (Liberal) Senators

Sen. Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.) should be flattered after making Time magazine’s list of the 10 best senators. As the only conservative on the list, Kyl is lucky he didn’t get stuck on Time’s other list: the five worst senators.

Time’s exercise of ranking the best and worst senators makes clear where the magazine’s political preferences fall. Of the 10 senators on the list, three of the Democrats—Teddy Kennedy (Mass.), Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Carl Levin (Mich.)—fall into the ultra-liberal category. The fourth Democrat, Kent Conrad (N.D.), is a moderate within his party.

What about the five other Republicans besides Kyl? They all have one thing in common: They’re not conservatives.

Let’s start alphabetically with Thad Cochran (Miss.), whose chairmanship of the free-spending Appropriations Committee automatically disqualifies him. Then there’s Richard Lugar (Ind.), who supports to the internationalist Law of the Sea Treaty. Then we have John McCain (Ariz.), who likes to pretend he’s a conservative but has given us the anti-free speech law known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

The two other Republicans on the list: Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Arlen Specter (Pa.) are to the left of some Democrats in Congress. Granted, Specter should be commended for his work during the hearings for Supreme Court nominees John Roberts and Sam Alito, but that doesn’t excuse his years of supporting liberal policies.

Average the 10 senators’ lifetime American Conservative Union ratings and you’ll come up with a Democrat-like score of 47.2%. Here’s the complete breakdown of ACU ratings:

The Best Senators
Thad Cochran: 81%
Kent Conrad: 20%
Dick Durbin: 7%
Ted Kennedy: 3%
Jon Kyl: 97%
Carl Levin: 7%
Richard Lugar: 79%
John McCain: 83%
Olympia J. Snowe: 50%
Arlen Specter: 45%

So there you have it: three ultra-liberal Democrats, one moderate Democrat, two liberal Republicans, three moderate Republicans and one true conservative. Who is Time trying to fool?

Meanwhile, a glance at the list of the five worst senators reveals that if you’re conservative, you’re bad. Senators Wayne Allard (Colo.), Jim Bunning (Ky.) and Conrad Burns (Mont.) all made the list. What do they have in common, you wonder? All have ACU scores over 90% during their careers in Congress.

The Worst Senators
Daniel Akaka: 8%
Wayne Allard: 96%
Jim Bunning: 95%
Conrad Burns: 91%
Mark Dayton: 11%

And finally, the third list Time offers is of up-and-comers in the Senate. This list is a joy because not only do we get two Democrat stars (Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton), but also two Republicans (Lindsey Graham and John Sununu) who probably were included for their disputes with President Bush on some high-profile issues.

The Up-and-Comers
Barack Obama: 8%
Lindsey Graham: 91%
Hillary Clinton: 9%
John Sununu: 94%
Mark Pryor: 25%

So what can Time’s readers make of this? Read the profiles for yourself, but I sensed a clear anti-Bush bias—even in the story about Kyl. That’s too bad because Top 10 lists, as we’ve discovered at HUMAN EVENTS, can be beneficial.