This week, Sarah Palin called Barack Obama and Joseph Biden “the two most liberal members of the Senate”. Is it true? Are the two very most liberal members of the United States Senate Joseph Biden and Barack Obama?
Not by a longshot. We’ve been tracking the legislative activities of the 100 U.S. senators for this session of Congress, and produced a legislative score to reflect their ideological positions within the Senate. From that scorecard, here’s some context for where Obama and Biden stand:
The numbers after the names of these senators are percentage scores. So, Russ Feingold and Patrick Leahy, truly the most liberal members of the Senate, each have supported a progressive position 81 percent of the time. That’s hardly a position of ideological purity.
Barack Obama isn’t even that purely liberal. He’s part of a group of five other members of the Senate who have supported progressive legislative priorities just three quarters of the time.
Then there’s Joseph Biden, who has earned a progressive score of just 50 percent. Only half of the time has Biden sided with a liberal perspective in the Senate. The other half of the time, he’s opposed it.
I’d like to know what criteria Sarah Palin used to declare that Barack Obama and Joseph Biden are the “two most liberal members of the Senate”. My suspicion is that Palin doesn’t actually have any criteria at all for that statement. She just made it up, or it was made up for her by some speechwriter.