Measuring How Liberal the Candidates Are


My friend Dave Meyer — one of DC’s best political researchers and a co-conspirator on a number of projects with me — browsed through the scorecard that the National Journal used to produce the result that Senator Barack Obama was the most liberal member of the Senate in 2007.
Just for the record, I do think that Barack Obama is more liberal than Hillary Clinton — but that said, I don’t think that should be considered a negative.
However, Meyer discovered only two scored votes where Obama took the ‘liberal position’ and Clinton took the ‘conservative’.
As Meyer wrote to me:

The first was Joe Lieberman’s S.Amdt. 30 to S.Amdt. 3 to S.1 The Amendment was “To establish a Senate Office of Public Integrity.” Here’s the roll call of the 27-71 vote.
Joining Obama on the ‘liberal’ side — meaning the side in support of Joe Lieberman’s amendment — were Republicans Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe Chuck Grassley, and John McCain.
The second was Jeff Bingaman’s S.Amdt. 1267 to S.Amdt.1150 to S.1348, the Immigration Reform bill. The Amendment was “To remove the requirement that Y-1 nonimmigrant visa holders leave the United States before they are able to renew their visa.” Here’s the roll call of the 41-57 vote (60 votes needed to pass, so it failed by 19).
Joining Obama on the ‘liberal’ side were Richard Shelby, Chuck Hagel, and Tom Coburn.

What is interesting and not highlighted by Dave Meyer is that Hillary Clinton had a vote on the Bingaman amendment that would have put her at odds with the Hispanic vote — and Obama in line with the generally pro-immigrant Hispanic voters. That’s a bit of a switch.
— Steve Clemons


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