Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Calling all Greens... 

Here's some interesting evidence that completely contradicts the contention of Ralph Nader--and not a few of his followers--that there is no difference between a Republican and a Democrat.

From the daily Kos:

Least progressive Dem

by kos
Wed Jun 23rd, 2004 at 20:28:43 EDT

I was playing around at Progressive Punch, and came across a startling revelation.

First of all, a little on the Progressive Punch ranking methodology.

After going through a number of steps and gyrations, we came up with a list of seven hard-core progressive United States Senators (7% of that body) and 38 hard-core progressive United States Representatives (about 9% of that body). The algorithm that we've used to come up with these progressive scores is that we take ANY VOTE in which a majority of those progressives--so in the House say, if there were no absences, it would be 20 of the 38--voted in contradistinction to a majority of the Republican caucus then that vote then qualifies for the database. The same process is used in the Senate. So, non-ideological votes such as National Groundhog Day: 429-0 with 6 absences, do not qualify for the database.

The process is automated, so it can't be massaged the way many ideological organizations massage their rankings (more on that in a bit).

To get the rankings of all congresscritters, click on "select by score" on the ProgressivePunch homepage. Herseth is in the lead, but that's based on a single vote, so she really doesn't count. Raul Grijalva of Arizona is the most progressive Dem, followed by by congresswoman, Barbara Lee.

The most conservative Democrat is Gene Taylor of Mississippi, with a 45.73 percent rating. That is, he votes with the most progressive Dems nearly 46 percent of the time. Charles Stenholm of Texas is the second most conservative.

But get this -- the most liberal Republican is Chris Shays of Connecticut. He votes with the most progressive Dems only 30.87 percent of the time.

In other words, the most right-wing Democrat is 15 percent more likely to vote for the progressive position than the most left-wing Republican.

This is empirical proof that their IS a difference between the parties, and that the most conservative Dems are far more preferable to even the most palatable Republicans.

Now to be fair, the methodology includes procedural votes, and those often fall along party lines. But that merely emphasizes my contention that electing a conservative Dem is critical, even if just to get that one vote for Pelosi as speaker.

As John Denver once said: "Thank God I'm A Democrat--Yeah!"


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