David Brooks was on the Chris Matthews show today once again saying how Barack Obama is the most liberal senator. Does this guy believe everything he reads in the National Journal?
While Barack Obama opposed the authorization of the Iraq war, he has voted to fund it. Other Democrats did not.
Barack Obama favors a universal health care plan that does not include individual mandates. There are Senators (like self-professed Socialist Bernie Sanders) who favor single-payor.
So how is this guy the most liberal senator? A visit to the National Journal clarifies the question. Apparently the services of the unimpeachable Brookings Institute were used perform something called principal-components analysis. From the description it sounds like they're plotting the degree to which there is a lack of variance with other senators on the left side of an issue. It seems to me that extremely liberal votes would exhibit greater not lesser variance. This seems more like a test for who is at the center of the Democratic Party, which is where casual observation would place Barack Obama.
Can we put this silly meme to bed? Barack Obama is not more liberal than Ted Kennedy, Bernie Sanders and Russ Feingold. (Oh, that it were so!)