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Breaking down the National Journal vote ratings

  • National Journal considers Al Franken the third most liberal member of the Senate, a title Republicans will probably hang around his neck come next year. It’s a big jump up for Franken, who has been ranked somewhere in the mid-teens each of the past few years. Amy Klobuchar’s voting record, meanwhile, is near the center of the Senate Democratic conference.
  • Minnesota House Democrats' rankings feel about right. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison are easily the most liberal members of the delegation, though it’s a bit surprising they’re not higher on the list (Ellison was one of a score of Democrats tied for most liberal in last year’s rankings).
  • Tim Walz and Collin Peterson both tend to cast themselves as moderates and the rankings reflect that. Peterson has the fourth most conservative voting record among Democrats, putting him further right than two Republicans (Illinois’ Robert Dold and New York’s Chris Gibson).
  • For the second year in a row, John Kline takes the prize as the Minnesota delegation’s most conservative member. Kline and Bachmann have traded the title since the latter took office in 2007.
  • Taken as a whole, Minnesota Republicans’ average composite conservative score (77.2) and Democrats’ average composite liberal score (76.7) are pretty much in line with where they’ve been over the last four years. In other words, the delegation's voting record hasn’t become more conservative or liberal (relative to their parties) over time.

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Comments (1)

National Journal

The only time I hear of the National Journal is when they do ratings. The problem with this kind of story is twofold. First, the ratings system tells us far more about the folks who prepare them then the people to whom it's applied. Secondly, this kind of story is nothing more than the reporting of the work product of one set of journalists as news by another set of journalists, and that's one of the worst tendencies afflicting inside the beltway commentators. If I wanted cocktail party gossip, I would go to the cocktail parties.