- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 20, 2004

Our friends at the National Review spotted this post-election howler in an Associated Press dispatch: “For 2008, the presumptive leading presidential candidates are New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Northeastern centrist …” Recalling Mrs. Clinton’s pre-senatorial work for Marian Wright Edelman’s radical Children’s Defense Fund and Robert Treuhaft’s “revolutionary” and Black Panther law firm, the National Review understandably responded to this evolving new line on Hillary by exclaiming, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!”

The Washington Times editorial page would like to add its two-cents’ worth by reviewing Mrs. Clinton’s first years in the Senate and comparing her voting record to the record of liberalism’s unquestioned standard-bearer, Teddy Kennedy, who would be proud to say that he has never been mistaken for a “Northeastern centrist.” What do you know? The unquestionably liberal voting records of these two Northeasterners are virtually indistinguishable.

• The Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), the self-styled premier liberal organization that issues annual congressional voting ratings by tallying the votes cast on its 20 most important issues, has given Mrs. Clinton scores (ADA cleverly calls them “liberal quotients”) of 95 percent for each of her first three years. Mr. Kennedy’s ADA ratings have been 100 percent (2001 and 2002) and 95 percent (2003).

• If the ADA guards the liberal flame in Congress, the American Conservative Union (ACU) performs the same function for conservatives. Mrs. Clinton’s average ACU rating (2001-2003) of 11 is not much different from Mr. Kennedy’s 5 for the same period.

• The Big Labor bosses love New York’s junior senator as much as they worship Massachusetts’ senior senator. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which is feverishly working to protect the gold-plated, unaffordable, bankruptcy-inducing pensions and early-retirement privileges of public workers, has given Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Kennedy 100 percent ratings for 2001, 2002 and 2003. Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton’s lifetime rating of 93 percent from the AFL-CIO is precisely the same as Mr. Kennedy’s.

• For the 2001-2003 period, Mrs. Clinton compiled an average rating of 88.3 from the League of Conservation Voters. That was 2 points higher than Mr. Kennedy’s three-year average.

• Neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Kennedy did much for taxpayers during 2001-2003. She has compiled an average annual rating of 14 percent from the National Taxpayers Union; Mr. Kennedy’s is 13 percent. Meanwhile, the National Tax Limitation Committee gave both senators a zero rating for the 107th Congress (2001-2002).

• The one score the Christian Coalition has given to each of them since Mrs. Clinton arrived in the Senate is zero. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise, considering that each of their annual ratings (2001-2003) from the National Right to Life Committee has been zero, while each has earned 100 percent marks from NARAL Pro-Choice America over the same period. Each also received identical scores from the American Civil Liberties Union for the 107th Congress.

• Each year the nonpartisan National Journal ranks each senator on three separate liberal/conservative continuums according to dozens of votes cast on economic, social and foreign-policy issues. In 2002, not a single U.S. senator was considered more liberal than Mrs. Clinton on economic and social matters. Last year no senator surpassed her liberal ranking on social issues, while she voted more liberally on economic matters than 90 percent of her colleagues. Her composite liberal score last year was higher than Mr. Kennedy’s. A “Northeastern centrist”? Compared to Mrs. Clinton’s 2003 composite liberal score of 88.8, Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins received composite liberal scores of 50.5 and 50.8, respectively, establishing their unquestioned “Northeastern centrist” credentials. Mrs. Clinton isn’t even in the centrist ballpark.

• Each year the authoritative Congressional Quarterly (CQ) selects 10 to 15 “key votes.” Since arriving in the U.S. Senate in 2001, Mrs. Clinton cast the same votes as Mr. Kennedy on CQ-selected “key” issues in nine out of 10 cases (2001), 12 out of 13 instances (2002) and 13 out of 14 votes (2003).

Having witnessed what has happened to comparably liberal Northeastern politicians who have sought the presidency over the past quarter century, including Massachusetts liberals like Mr. Kennedy (1980), Michael Dukakis (1988) and John Kerry (2004), Mrs. Clinton will surely seek to adopt the “centrist” image over the next few years. To this end, she will undoubtedly be helped by her liberal media friends, who, like Hillary, understand how deadly the liberal moniker is to a politician nationwide. In the interest of truth, The Washington Times editorial page will occasionally take a close look at her positions in order to confirm beyond any freshly arising doubt just how entrenched her liberalism truly is. Today, we have seen that interest groups across the political spectrum consider her virtually indistinguishable from Teddy Kennedy, the widely proclaimed — and unabashed — lion of Senate liberalism.

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