Thursday, June 24, 2004

Edwards: By the Company He Keeps

You can tell a lot about a person by the company he keeps – and the company he chooses not to keep. Since all the trial balloons seem to indicate Senator Edwards to be the sacrificial Veep, let’s review his special-interest acquaintances in politics.

Special interest groups issue rankings of politicians based upon votes that they consider to be important to their causes. Below are the rankings assigned by various groups for votes cast by Edwards in 2003. I have only included the rankings at the extremes of -0%- and 100%. Many other rankings were given in between by other groups. I considered (under the theory that even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while) but rejected including those groups that ranked him with ten points of perfect or a complete loser. I found that the picture did not change that much with their inclusion. Regardless, to get a broader picture, I have included the National Journal rankings.

Names of organizations can be misleading. For example, one would naturally think that something called “Air America” would fly or perhaps move along the airwaves in some fashion. Instead, in reality, it is something that consumes endless amounts of money, is present almost exclusively in small media markets, and exudes an obnoxious odor. Rather than its plain meaning, Air America seems more akin to a liberal version of Cow Pie Bingo. In light of this, each special interest group name below is also link to that group’s website.

The source data was compiled primarily from one of my favorite sites on the net - Project Vote Smart.

They love him … all 100% ratings:

Abortion Issues: National Abortion Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL is known as“America's most aggressive pro-abortion organization”). Civil Rights: Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (the LCCR opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment through secondary means – instead of saying that they support same-sex marriages, they state that they are troubled by the infringement on civil rights and the use of the precious little time available to Congress). Family and Children Issues: National Network for Youth. Gender Issues: American Association of University Women (follow the site’s link along the top to “Issue Advocacy.” Seems the AAUW cares a lot about a continued right to have an abortion and doesn’t want school vouchers to be used in primary and secondary schools. I wonder why? What does either issue have to do with being a woman at a university?). Health Issues: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Public Health Association ("Seniors should be protected against situations where private insurers can charge premiums that fluctuate from state to state or that force them to change plans, pharmacists or current prescriptions should a private insurer decide to stop offering coverage in a particular community." Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, APHA Executive Director. Oh, so we should socialize medicine, George?). Labor: Transportation Communications Union; AFL-CIO. Senior and Social Security Issues: Alliance for Retired Americans (Quotes: “$330 billion in tax breaks for the wealthiest American threatens the financial stability of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds,” and “Senator Kennedy, D-MA, introduced an amendment a tax bill that would shift $150 billion in dividend and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to the Medicare Trust Fund.” Anything else need be said?). Social Issues: Population Connection (aka, We-Be-Abortions); NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby (opposes W’s tax cuts, wants to socialize health care, opposes extending NAFTA to South America – these are Catholics, right? What do these issues have to do with spreading God’s Word?).

They love him not … all -0%- ratings:

Budget, Spending and Taxes: Americans for Tax Reform (Their site shares: "Earlier this year, a senior Democratic House staffer, discussing a draft opinion column written by opponents of personal accounts, admitted in an email that their arguments were 'not entirely factually accurate' and were 'scaring seniors.' The email was mistakenly sent to a Republican staffer." Read the e-mail here. They seem like good guys!); American Shareholders Association (These guys issued a report entitled Kerry's 19-Year Record on Investor Issues. Gotta love someone who does their homework!) Business and Consumers: National Retail Federation; Associated Builders & Contractors; Business-Industry Political Action Committee; National Federation of Independent Business. Conservative: Christian Coalition (But, but ... aren't these the good guys? You have to be pretty bad to earn a zero from the good guys.); Eagle Forum. Family and Children Issues: Family Research Counci ("Defending family, faith, and freedom." How come the liberals never talk about God?). Gender Issues: Concerned Women for America. Housing and Property Issues: League of Private Property Voters.

They try not to be so opinionated …

The National Journal issues six rankings. It is a pay site, unfortunately, but some info can be gleaned from the titles below:

0% Conservative on Economic Policy
0% Conservative on Social Policy
6% Composite Conservative Score

85% Liberal on Social Policy
93% Liberal on Economic Policy (Tied for #1 in both chambers with Sens. Kerry, Durkin, Sarbanes, Edwards, & Reed)
95% Composite Liberal Score (This is the infamous ranking of which Kerry got all the press for being the most liberal senator with a score of 97%. In fact, Kerry is the most liberal legislator (even though he's never legislated a single bill) – no one in the House reaches his height. Edwards Senate ranking? #2 (tied with Reed (D-RI) and Sarbanes (D-MD)).

By the friends he keeps, Edwards is a liberal’s liberal - just like Kerry. Please pick him, Bullwinkle. It’s a discussion that needs to happen.

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