- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hillary Clinton had a more liberal voting record than President Barack Obama when they were both senators, bucking pundits views she’s the more centrist of the two, according to the American Conservative Union’s new annual rating of Congress.

“The question is: ‘Is there any way someone can be more liberal than President Obama?’ The answer very well could be Hilary Clinton,” said ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp, adding that Mrs. Clinton is “confused and can’t seem to decide if she wants to run as a centrist or a as a liberal, but her record while in the Senate clearly shows that she is one of the most liberal Senators of our time.”

Mrs. Clinton’s voting record is more centrist than far-left 2016 hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont Independent, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, but not by much, according to the ACU, which rates lawmakers on a 100 point scale based on how their voting record aligns with conservative policies.

Mrs. Clinton’s lifetime ACU rating of 8.13 is only two points higher than both Mr. Sanders’ 6.2 percent lifetime rating and Ms. Warren’s 6 percent rating. All three of the presidential hopefuls are lower on the ACU’s scale than Mr. Obama, who has a lifetime rating of 10 percent. More than 30 Democrats in the House and Senate had a score of zero this year, including Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

A perfect 100 score would mean the lawmakers aligned perfectly with conservative values, and 0 score would mean lawmakers consistently voted against republican ideals. ACU compiled both lifetime scores and scores based on lawmakers 2014 voting record.

Pundits have branded Mrs. Clinton as a centrist in the democratic field, pointing to her policies on foreign affairs and her cozy relationships with Wall Street. Huffington Post columnist H. A. Goodman wrote in August 2014 that Mrs. Clinton is “more conservative than most Democrats, and ironically, most Republicans would ever admit.”

But other potential 2016 Democratic candidates like Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and Vice President Joseph R. Biden have higher conservative ratings than Mrs. Clinton with lifetime ratings of 16.7 and 12.7 respectively, according to the ACU study.

Despite what commentators say, Mr. Schlapp argued that Mrs. Clinton’s record proves that her presidency could be even worse than Mr. Obama’s.

“The more one learns about her distortions, Clinton will most likely govern as a liberal president even more liberal than Obama, which would be disastrous for our nation,” Mr. Schlapp said.

Of the 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the only one to pull of a perfect score of 100, voting in line with the ACU’s position on 24 of the 25 votes considered and abstaining from the other.

But other presidential hopefuls were not far behind. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio both scored lifetime ratings of 98 percent.

The ACU’s report highlights a difference in voting culture between the two parties. While Democrats tend to vote together as a block, Republicans demonstrate more diversity in their opinions through their votes.

Ian Walters, a spokesman for the ACU Walters, that this trend directly conflicts with liberal arguments that Republicans are continually blocking legislation in Congress.

“It looks to me like the Republicans are having a real debate on where to live on some of these important issues and Democrats are enforcing lock-step orthodoxy,” Mr. Walters said. “It can be that the Democrats are all so radical that they’ve decided on the same thing independently, or that there is somebody knocking them in to line to make sure they all vote the same way, but they are all lumped together.”

Sixteen Republicans earned a 100 percent rating in 2014, including Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.

The ACU’s ratings only examine federal lawmakers, which means other potential 2016 candidates like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley are not tallied.

The ACU does have lifetime ratings for other potential candidates, like Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (99 percent), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (93.3 percent), and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (88 percent) based on their previous voting records from earlier reports. This is the ACU’s 44th annual rating.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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