- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 15, 2005

Hillary Rodham Clinton and her supporters will no doubt accelerate their efforts to portray the former first lady as a moderate. While it is easy to understand why most left-wing Democrats run from the liberal label as though it were the plague, Mrs. Clinton’s pursuit of this strategy will likely run into the same problem that helped to bury Mr. Kerry in November. She can hardly claim to be a responsible moderate if she reflexively votes like a Teddy Kennedy Democrat.

“In the spirit of the New Deal,” Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) rightly styles itself as “America’s oldest independent liberal lobbying organization.” As early as this week, ADA will be reporting that Mrs. Clinton achieved a score of 95 percent for embracing the ADA position on 19 of the organization’s 20 most important votes in 2004. (Mr. Kennedy scored 100 percent.) It will be the fourth consecutive time that Mrs. Clinton has received a score of 95 percent since she entered the Senate in 2001. Mrs. Clinton’s four-year ADA average score of 95 percent is not much different from Mr. Kennedy’s 98.75 percent.

In 2004, both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Kennedy received 100 percent scores from the League of Conservation Voters, an unambiguously liberal environmental organization.

During the just-concluded 108th Congress (2003-2004), each endorsed 100 percent of the positions on “key votes” espoused by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees , the public-employees’ union that will be responsible for soaring state and local taxes needed to fund irresponsible gold-plated pensions and retirement plans. In fact, over the past four years, neither Mr. Kennedy nor Mrs. Clinton has ever cast a vote against AFSCME’s position.

The National Right to Life Committee gave both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Kennedy a 0 rating for their uniformly pro-abortion votes throughout the 108th Congress. These votes include their joint opposition to the bipartisan Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which passed 64-34 with the support of 17 Democrats, and the bipartisan Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which passed last year by a 61-38 margin — with the support of 13 Democrats.

Among the nine votes in 2004 considered to be the most crucial by the ACLU, Mrs. Clinton failed to cast a single one different from Mr. Kennedy’s. In fact, the only two votes she cast contrary to the ACLU’s position passed the Senate by 90-4 and 98-0 margins — hardly a calculable measure of independence or moderation.

When Mr. Kerry emerged as the undisputed favorite to capture the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nomination, he vigorously sought to distance himself from his unabashedly liberal record. He failed. Like Mr. Kerry, Mrs. Clinton can run in 2008, but she can’t hide.

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