Maryland GOP Whacks Cardin for Top Liberal Rating
Maryland Republican Party Chairman Audrey Scott is taking a shot at Ben Cardin after a Washington magazine rated the Baltimore Democrat as one of the most liberal members of the Senate.
National Journal, a respected publication whose vote ratings have stirred controversy in the past, put Cardin in a five-way tie for first place as the most liberal senator. The rankings are made on the basis of selected roll-call votes on what the magazine regards as key economic, social and foreign policy issues.
"It's clear that one-party rule doesn't work and this fall Republicans intend to hold Democrats accountable both in Washington and Annapolis," Scott said in a prepared statement Monday evening. "Every day, more and more Marylanders are saying 'enough is enough.'"
Unfortunately for Maryland voters eager to bounce Cardin from his liberal perch this fall, he is the only member of the state's delegation in Washington who isn't up for re-election. His term expires in 2012 and there's no way to predict what his rating will be by then.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, who is running for re-election this year, ranked as the eighth most liberal senator in 2009, according to National Journal.
In the past, questions have been raised about the validity of the magazine's ratings, which don't always match those of other analysts and outside interest groups. Barack Obama earned the "most liberal" rank from the magazine in 2007, and Republican presidential candidate John McCain used that rating in 2008 campaign attacks. But independent assessments found that, for the most part, Obama didn't actually deserve that label.
Over in the House, the seven Democrats from Maryland spanned a fairly wide ideological range, according to the magazine.
Rep. John Sarbanes, who may not be the most liberal member of the delegation, was rated farthest to the left. National Journal called him the 18th most liberal member of the House.
Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil, the Eastern Shore centrist, rated 237th, near the bottom for members of his party and farther to the right than anyone except Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.
Bartlett, the lone Maryland Republican in Congress, was the 108th most conservative member of the House, according to National Journal. Or, if you prefer, 322nd most liberal out of 435.
Other Marylaners and their ratings (all on the "most liberal" scale): Rep. Donna Edwards, who some would say is actually the most liberal Marylander in Congress, ranked 25th, and Rep. Elijah Cummings was 47th.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, whom many regard as a bridge between the party's liberal and moderate wings, was 65th most liberal (there are currently 254 Democrats in the House).
Rep. Chris Van Hollen was 75th, and Rep. C. A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger was 153rd, putting him closest to the middle of the Democratic caucus.