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Seattle Times: Jim McDermott Rated Least Liberal By Conservative Think Tank

By Lummy Lin August 30, 2011

The Seattle Times blog, Politics NW, had its own morning jolt today, reporting that a conservative advocacy group ranked US Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA, 7)  as the least liberal among his Washington State congressional Democrat brethren.

Heritage Action for America, the advocacy branch of the intensely right-wing think tank The Heritage Foundation, recently released a scorecard grading US reps and senators on how their voting records and bills aligned with the conservative agenda (small government, lower taxes—you know the drill).

In the eyes of Heritage Action, Jim McDermott has voted "conservatively" 17 percent of the time this past legislative session, putting him right behind US Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8 ), the Washington Republican with the lowest score (30 percent).

However, the Seattle Times explains why McDermott's ranking must be taken with a grain of salt:
Members sometimes cast votes for opposite reasons. For instance, Heritage gave McDermott kudos for voting against raising the federal borrowing limit. The group demanded bigger cuts in spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. But McDermott actually voted against the measure because he said the cuts disproportionately hurt the poor while asking nothing of the rich.

Likewise, the Times' headline—"most conservative Democrat"—teeters on exaggeration. What Heritage Action's scorecard really shows, far from sounding a DINO alert, is how far Washington State actually diverges from Heritage Action's agenda. Only a deep blues state such as Washington would have such paltry conservative Congressional representation that a Democrat would take the last spot in the "Top Performers" roster.

The Seattle Times offers this:
For perspective, consider that a 78 percent score for Rep. Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee, was enough for Heritage to refer -- with some alarm -- to the Wisconsin Republican as "a moderate."

Washington's highest scoring Republican, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, 5), scored 62 percent.

The award for "most liberal" goes to Sen. Maria Cantwell, who scored a solid 0 percent, with Sen. Murray following close behind at 5 percent. US Rep and gubernatorial hopeful Jay Inslee scored 10 percent, tying him with reps Rick Larsen and Adam Smith for fourth place on the liberal end of the spectrum.

Catch the full scoop here.
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