Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 12, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

HOW LIBERAL IS JOHN KERRY?....Did you know that John McEnroe has his own talk show on CNBC? Of course you did; you're sophisticated people after all. Well, it turns out that Marian is sort of morbidly fascinated by the prospect of McEnroe crashing and burning yet again on TV (remember The Chair?), so we tuned in tonight to see how he was doing and caught him chatting with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation.

The conversation was so unmemorable that I don't remember much of anything about it, although there was one odd exchange where McEnroe asked her if she thought Bill Clinton was a liberal and she got obviously uncomfortable and bobbed and weaved and utlimately declined to answer. I'm not quite sure why, really.

Oh, and then there was the part when vanden Heuvel said that George Bush was trying to turn America into a theocracy, which sounds completely loony and tinfoil hattish to the average TV viewer, and then didn't offer even a shred of evidence to back up this assertion. Nada. Hey, that makes us all look good, doesn't it?

Oh yes, and then there was one more thing. In fact, it's the actual point of this post (which you might have been wondering when I would get to). McEnroe said something about John Kerry being the #1 most liberal member of the Senate and John Edwards being #4, and wondered if America was ready for such strong brew. Vanden Heuvel said something or other, I don't remember what, but didn't even bother to knock down this idiotic urban legend. So since she wouldn't do it, I will. Courtesy of one of Andrew Sullivan's correspondents, here are the rankings for the past five years:

2003: Kerry - 1st (96.5) Edwards - 4th (94.5)
2002: Kerry - 9th (87.3) Edwards - 31st (63.0)
2001: Kerry - 11th (87.7) Edwards - 35th (68.2)
2000: Kerry - 20th (77) Edwards - 19th (80.8)
1999: Kerry - 16th (80.8) Edwards - 31st (72.2)

Average: Kerry - 12th (85.9) Edwards - 24th (75.7)

The rankings for 2003 are skewed by the campaign season, and a longer look shows that Kerry is liberal, but hardly a Paul Wellstone liberal, and Edwards is smack in the middle of the Democratic pack.

You may not get invited onto a talk show like editors of political magazines do, but you can do your part anyway. So the next time someone brings this up, let 'em know the facts. After all, that's the whole point of being an advocate for the left, isn't it?

Kevin Drum 11:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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