Apparently MSNBC's Chris Matthews judges the political ideology of elected officials by inconsequential cosmetic matters such as their style of clothing or haircut. During a segment handicapping the tough reelection campaigns of a handful of Senate Democrats, the Hardball host described Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) as, "another guy who's got a crew cut, looks like a regular guy... [who] works on his tractor on weekends." Tester is "no Northeastern liberal, that's for sure," Matthews remarked to the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato.
Well, he certainly is no Northeasterner, but Tester most certainly is a liberal, judging by his low rating from the American Conservative Union (ACU), his high marks from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, and his 100 percent rating by the abortion-on-demand lobby NARAL Pro-Choice America. [MP3 audio available here]
In his The Plum Line op-ed on page A19 today, the Washington Post's Greg Sargent saw the presence of "relatively conservative Democrats Mark Begich (Alaska) and Jon Tester (Mont.)" on a letter by Senate Democrats blasting the Komen Foundation for withdrawing grants to Planned Parenthood as "testament to how broad the opposition to this decision has become."
But a few keystrokes on a search engine reveal Sargent's journalistic and intellectual laziness. Both Begich and Tester drew 100% approval ratings for 2011 from NARAL Pro-Choice America. Both senators drew 100% approval ratings in the 2012 Planned Parenthood action guide. Tester has received endorsements from both NARAL and Planned Parenthood and, in a photo I've attached below the page break, is shown smiling widely in a photo taken at the 39th annual NARAL Dinner (via TheHill.com) held on January 26. Tester is pictured with NARAL president Nancy Keenan (center) and MSNBC contributor Karen Finney (right).
If you look at the description of yesterday afternoon's U.S. Senate Roll Call Vote Number 278 ("A bill to amend title 28, United States Code, to clarify and improve certain provisions relating to the removal of litigation against Federal officers or agencies to Federal courts, and for other purposes."), you'd never know it had anything to do with illegal immigration.
But it did. It was a cloture vote (60 needed to get the measure to the Senate floor) about about the so-called "DREAM Act," granting de facto amnesty to a vast number of illegal immigrants for entering college or joining the military. It has been a Democratic Party-"inspired" initiative with heavy Republican opposition from the get-go. It could easily have passed if the Democrats had been able to hold their membership together while picking off a couple of squishy Republicans.
They got their squishes: Republicans Murkowski (AK), Lugar (IN), and Bennett (UT) voted yes. That should have given the measure 61 votes. But Democrats Baucus (MT), Hagan (NC), Nelson (NE), Pryor AR), and Tester (MT) voted no, while Manchin (WV) did not vote. The measure's 55-41 support was not enough to move it to the next step.
On Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Shannon Bream informed viewers of a letter written to Attorney General Eric Holder from 65 House Democrats who oppose the Attorney General’s recently expressed wish to "reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons" to try to reduce violence by Mexican drug cartels. Bream further relayed the recommendations of Democratic Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both from Montana, that the Obama administration should focus on enforcing current gun laws.
Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Friday, March 27, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC: