The New York Post's Charles Hurt asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "is ranked the most liberal member of the Senate based on his votes on issues," citing no evidence for his assertion. Many conservatives and media figures have repeated the National Journal's ranking of Obama as the "most liberal senator" for 2007 without noting the ranking's subjectivity.
In a July 14 "Inside Washington" column, New York Post Washington bureau chief Charles Hurt baselessly asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "is ranked the most liberal member of the Senate based on his votes on issues." While Hurt cited no evidence of Obama's ranking, many conservatives and media figures have repeated the National Journal's ranking of Obama as the "most liberal senator" for 2007 without noting the ranking's subjectivity. As Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, the National Journal based its rankings not on all votes cast by senators in 2007, but on "99 key Senate votes, selected by NJ reporters and editors, to place every senator on a liberal-to-conservative scale." Further, among the "votes on issues" Obama cast to earn the Journal ranking were his votes to implement the bipartisan 9-11 Commission's homeland security recommendations, provide more children with health insurance, permit federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, and maintain a federal minimum wage. By contrast, a study by political science professors Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis, using every non-unanimous vote cast in the Senate in 2007 to determine relative ideology, placed Obama in a tie for the ranking of 10th most liberal senator.
As Media Matters documented, Obama has challenged the National Journal's vote selection, saying, "[A]n example of why I was rated the most liberal was because I wanted an office of public integrity that stood outside of the Senate, and outside of Congress, to make sure that you've got an impartial eye on ethics problems inside of Congress. Now, I didn't know that it was a liberal or Democratic issue. I thought that was a good government issue that a lot of Republicans would like to see."
American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Norman J. Ornstein has also criticized the National Journal's rating of Obama, calling it "pretty ridiculous."
From Hurt's July 14 New York Post "Inside Washington" column, headlined "Chuck's Book a Woe for O":
This will be a historic year for Democrats, argues Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is re-releasing his book "Positively American" in paperback later this month with a new forward about this fall's elections.
But a careful reading of Schumer's recipe for winning makes clear that his party's biggest vulnerability is sitting at the top of the ticket.
This year is a once-in-a-generation tipping point, he says, because the middle class has begun to worry about its future, its children's future and the country's future.
And these voters are precisely why Barack Obama could turn into yet another disaster for Democrats.
He excites the college set with his style and soaring rhetoric.
His upbeat idealism and seemingly honest character even reaches conservatives fed up with Washington Republicans, who have proved themselves both literally and philosophically corrupt.
The one group left completely unstirred by Barack Obama is the working middle class, who delivered shocking blows to the candidate-in-waiting in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky to name just a few.
Schumer's playbook for winning also cuts Obama out of the picture by arguing that issues, not style and likability, will rule the day this fall.
This would destroy Obama, who is ranked the most liberal member of the Senate based on his votes on issues.
People like Obama precisely for his style, not because he has supported banning all handguns, allowing partial-birth abortions and promised sit-downs with the world's worst dictators.
People like Obama in spite of his positions on these issues.
Schumer, of course, does not mention Obama in his new forward and goes to great pains to say that all the Democratic candidates running are outstanding.