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]
Tester's lifetime ACU rating is a puny 15.06. The Montana Democrat has gotten MORE liberal the closer he's come to his November reelection. Tester had a 20 percent rating in 2010 but halved that to a 10 percent rating in 2011.
The liberal ACU counterpart, ADA, doesn't do lifetime scores, but here are Tester's year-by-year scores in reverse chronological order from 2010 (the last on record) to 2007 (his freshman year): 85, 90, 85, 95. That would be an average score of 88.75, meaning Tester is only conservative on 11.25 percent of the issues he voted on in his Senate career.
And last, but not least, Jon Tester is a NARAL-endorsed 100 percent pro-choice politician who attended the abortion-rights lobby's 39th annual dinner this winter.
Sure, Tester has received an A grade from the NRA on gun rights, but his conservatism on gun rights hardly offsets his staunch liberalism on most every other issue.
But to Chris Matthews, apparently, Tester is a good ol' "regular guy" Democrat facing reelection in a reliably red state in a presidential election year.