Kerry-Kennedy Liberalism II

Article excerpt


Ever since John Kerry won his Massachusetts Senate seat amid former President Reagan's 49-state landslide in 1984, he has acted as a virtual clone of Massachusetts' senior senator, Edward Kennedy. Indeed, based on its annual statistical analysis of congressional voting patterns on economic, foreign-policy and social issues, the authoritative, nonpartisan National Journal has crowned Mr. Kerry the Senate's most liberal member twice in the 1980s, once in the 1990s and, most recently, in 2003.

In a previous editorial, The Washington Times reviewed the annual ratings that various interest groups assigned to the voting records of Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Kerry and Kennedy. Those organizations included the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, the American Conservative Union, the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Conservation Voters, the AFL-CIO, the Concord Coalition, the National Taxpayers Union and the Christian Coalition.

For all practical purposes, the ratings were identical. The same conclusion can be drawn from an examination of the voting patterns of Messrs. Kerry and Kennedy on the annual lists of "key votes" that are carefully selected by Congressional Quarterly and National Journal's "Almanac of American Politics."

Each year CQ identifies about 15 "key votes." From 1985, when Mr. Kerry entered the U.S. Senate, through 2003, CQ has selected 270 "key votes." Mr. Kennedy has cast a vote on 268 of them. For five of the 268, Mr. …