A new, objective legislative scorecard by Heritage Action for America exposes Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) campaign to posture herself as a “moderate” to be nothing but a big lie.
The scorecard, which rates members of both houses of Congress on degrees of conservatism, rates McCaskill with a dismal 5% score, the lowest of all 11 members of Missouri’s congressional delegation. That’s worse (i.e., more liberal) than Missouri’s urban Democrats in the House, Reps. Russ Carnahan (7%), William Lacy Clay (10%) and Emanuel Cleaver, II (14%). Metro East Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL) was rated at 18%.
While Democrats can be expected to score poorly on a test that measures conservatism, the apples-to-apples comparison of members of the same party is still quite illuminating.
It’s not just that McCaskill stands out in a conservative state. She rates worse than many of the best known congressional liberals. Heritage Action rated avowed socialist Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) at 10%, former House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at 15% and former presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) at 20%. Other nationally known liberals rated more conservative than McCaskill included Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA, 16%), Barbara Lee (D-CA, 16%), Maxine Waters (D-CA, 12%), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL, 11%), John Conyers (D-MI, 11%), Charles Rangel (D-NY, 11%) and Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX, 10%).
In pointed contrast, Heritage Action rated Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who is seeking the Republican nomination to oppose McCaskill for re-election, at 81%. (Senatorial candidate Sarah Steelman was not rated because she is not currently serving in either house of Congress.) McCaskill’s senate colleague, Republican Roy Blunt, scored 72%.
The highest rating went to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) at 99%. The ratings for Republicans in Congress who are currently seeking the presidency are 94% for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), 76% for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), and 68% for Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI).
The Heritage Action scorecard measures voting records on all three facets of conservatism – fiscal, social and national defense. Red State blogger Daniel Horowitz notes that it is “more than just a measure of someone’s personal belief in conservatism; it is a measure of how much temerity a member has to implement his/her beliefs, even if it elicits consternation from their own leadership.” Horowitz also points out that senators, such as McCaskill, should be held to a higher standard than house members, because the Senate is more decentralized, making it easier for an individual member to oppose leadership.
McCaskill, in both formal votes and intangible acts of leadership, has toed the party line, contrary to the interests of her Missouri constituents.