In a recent article on Politico.com, Jonathan Allen laughably labeled two out of three soon-to-be retired Democratic senators -- Joseph Lieberman(I-Conn.)* and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) -- alongside Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine). Allen did correctly label the retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) as a moderate, a tag that makes more sense given his voting record. [h/t e-mail tipster James Harper]
Reporting in the wake of Tuesday's announcement that Snowe is retiring, Allen created the illusion that along with Lieberman, Conrad and Nelson, centrism in the Senate is being dealt a blow.
In the liberal media, Conrad and Lieberman are consistently mislabeled as moderate senators despite their consistently liberal voting records. Rankings given by the American Conservative Union (ACU) and their liberal counterpart Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) both conclude that Lieberman and Conrad are anything but moderate.
ACU gave Lieberman a 2010 rating of 4 which means he is 96% liberal. Lieberman's lifetime conservative rating is a puny 15.6. ADA does not do lifetime ratings, only yearly scores. The liberal group gave Lieberman a 75% liberal rating for 2010. Nelson is judged a moderate by both the ADA and ACU, but Kent Conrad has an 85% liberal rating by ADA in 2010 and ACU rated him only 4 percent conservative in 2010 and 19 percent conservative throughout his Senate career.
By contrast, Olympia Snowe has a lifetime conservative rating of 48.4 percent by ACU and a 40 percent liberal rating by ADA. Comparing Nelson to Snowe as moderate is defensible, Allen's assertion that Lieberman and Conrad are moderate is patently absurd.
*technically, Lieberman is an independent, but he caucuses with Democrats.