Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Truth about Lieberman's Voting Record

Here are a few inconvenient (at least to Lieberman's opponents) truths about Senator Lieberman's voting record.

National Journal is a non-partisan publication that puts out a vote ranking each year which looks at how each member of the Senate and Congress votes on key issues in three broad categories: economic issues, social issues, and foreign policy. The members of each House are then ranked in relation to one another from most liberal to most conservative.

The NJ rankings are generally accepted as the standard of determining where members of Congress lie on the political spectrum. If you take out Ben Nelson (more conservative than 5 Republicans) and Linc Chafee (more liberal than 2 Democrats, Nelson and Mary Landrieu), the Democrats and Republicans are perfectly divided - i.e. all Democrats are ranked more liberal than all Republicans.

I'll get all the bad news for Lieberman out of the way here. In 2005, his voting record was indeed more moderate than any other New England Democrat's. On foreign policy issues, he does indeed come out as more moderate than any Democrat except Nelson, and moderate GOPers Linc Chafee and Arlen Specter are ranked as more liberal. However, this is unsurprising considering the pre-eminence of Iraq among the foreign policy votes ranked by the National Journal.

Now here's the kicker - if you take out those strongly Iraq-tinted foreign policy votes, Lieberman comes out far more liberal than his detractors claim.

On social policy matters, Lieberman's liberal ranking was better than 14 other Democrats, including Minority Leader Harry Reid.

On economic matters, Lieberman came out as more liberal than fully 20 other members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, with a liberal score of 74 out of 100 - even better than liberal Democratic stalwarts like Maria Cantwell, Herb Kohl, Daniel Inouye, Daniel Akaka, and Debbie Stabenow.

Of course, Lieberman's voting record was also far to the left of every Republican in both of these areas, and if
you look at his vote ratings from key interest groups, Lieberman's record looks yet more progressive. Here are his ratings from key issue advocacy groups according to the Almanac of American Politics:
  • Americans for Democratic Action: 80
  • League of Conservation Voters: 100
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees: 86
  • American Civil Liberties Union: 83

And in case you were wondering:
  • American Conservative Union: 0
  • Christian Coalition: 0

Here are most recent rankings from other prominent issue groups, as pulled from VoteSmart:
  • National Organization of Women: 75
  • NAACP: 85
  • Human Rights Campaign: 88
  • League of United Latin American Citizens: 100
  • NARAL: 75 (based in large part on his Roberts vote; in 2004, it was 100)
  • Planned Parenthood: 100
  • Alliance for Retired Americans: 100 (their big issue: protecting Social Security)
  • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: 90
  • National Right-to-Life: 0
  • NRA: F (NRA gives grades rather than numerical scores)

The groups which make it their job to analyze and rank the votes of members of Congress show that - contrary to the hysterical claims of the Lieberhaters - the myth of Lieberman being conservative or a Republican in disguise is just that: a myth. I have no doubt that Lieberhaters will continue to spread the lie that Lieberman's voting record is somehow out of step with his fellow Senate Democrats, and advance the absurd claim that he frequently breaks with Democrats on key issues.

Fortunately, saying it doesn't make it true.


Blogger Nazgul35 said...

Everyone in political science knows that ratings from interest groups are bad indicators of the actual ideological positioning of members.

NARAL if for no other example tracked Lieberman's no vote on Alito while ignoring is vote to end cloture, which was the true vote of importance.

In Political science, we use DW-Nominate scores put together by Poole and Rosenthal.

According to these scores...Lieberman ahs been consistantly to the right of the Party median score.

For example:

In the 101st Senate (Lieberman's first) his first dimension score was -0.247 while his party median was (-0.349). The floor median (including all Senators) was -0.166. This places Lieberman closer to the floor median then to his party's median.

The following are his scores through the remainder of the Congresses:

102nd Dem= -0.361, Lieb= -0.26, Floor= -0.176

103rd Dem= -0.365, Lieb= -0.272, Floor= -0.186

104th Dem= -0.375, Lieb= -0.285, Floor= 0.000 (Republican take-over)

105th Dem= -0.378, Lieb= -0.297, Floor= 0.135

106th Dem= -0.364, Lieb= -0.31, Floor= 0.122

107th Dem= -0.37, Lieb= -0.322, Floor= -0.037 (Dems tack-over after Jeffords switch)

108th Dem= -0.381, Lieb= -0.335, Floor= 0.06

That is more scientific then interest group ratings which have been largely dropped from any scientific data analysis.

According to this data, Lieberman has been consistantly to the right of the party median.

7/15/2006 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And to the left of the Republicans. You didn't say anything that contradicted that post.

7/15/2006 4:11 PM  
Anonymous david mizner said...

"if you take out those strongly Iraq-tinted foreign policy votes, Lieberman comes out far more liberal than his detractors claim."

Yeah, if not for that single issue, if not for that pesky defining moral and political issue of our time, he'd be not so bad. Try harder, folks.

7/15/2006 5:02 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

"In the 101st Senate (Lieberman's first) his first dimension score was -0.247 while his party median was (-0.349). The floor median (including all Senators) was -0.166. This places Lieberman closer to the floor median then to his party's median."

Oh my GOD! You mean he's a Centrist Democrat, willing to work with people to get the job done for the people of Connecticut and the USA.

Who ever heard of such a thing!

Obviusly, Lamont has no ratings as he has no experience, except that selecman jobby thing he did when he voted 80% of the time with Republicans.

Please don't argue that it's small potatoes because someone who has small potatoes experience doesn't have enough political acumen to effectively serve the state and nation.

If you want to argue that it's significant experience then his far-right rebublican leanings are significant as well.

OT--Has Ned dumped his Halliburton stock yet--there's that air of impropriety thing, I mean if he's so anti-war and with those Halliburton scandals--well, you know.

7/15/2006 5:09 PM  
Blogger Nazgul35 said...


I put in a much better ranking system that shows Lieberman is to the right of the party median...and yes, to the left of the Republicans (as are all Democrats) but two posters here take that as a slam of some sorts.

Watch it or people will start to claim you are shrill and out of control.

7/15/2006 6:50 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Looks like irrefutable data is starting to get on your nerves--like nails on a blackboard?

"Watch it or people will start to claim you are shrill and out of control."

Oh I don't want that--some people might think I'm a Lamonista. Horrors!

About that Halliburton stock again--do you have any links yet to show if Lamont is keeping it or dumping it?

7/15/2006 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Lieberman people are a little too anxious to pursue the "hate meme". I don't think it's really going to work for you either.

Nobody hates Joe Lieberman. It's just that his record is terrible. Joe's biggest fault is that he sabotages Democrats behind the scenes, destroying intra-party unity and sandbagging progressive causes. Am I the only one who thinks this? No. Check out this article in the Jewish Journal for a fascinating look into Lieberman's troubles:

Joe Lieberman could probably eke out some support if his voting record were his only problem.

Joe Lieberman's voting record is the least of his problems.

7/15/2006 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous: I have to agree with you. The Lamont ad with Lieberman morphing into Bush is actually very fair. Lieberman's support of Bush/Cheney is killing him.

7/15/2006 7:53 PM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

I wonder how Joe would do in a national "most selfish US Senator" poll...

7/15/2006 8:21 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

"I think the Lieberman people are a little too anxious to pursue the "hate meme". I don't think it's really going to work for you either."

This IS making you nervous.


7/16/2006 5:19 AM  
Anonymous rachelrachel said...

The Jewish Journal article doesn't point to any issues where they disagree with Joe other than Iraq. It doesn't support your assertion that he "sabotages Democrats behind the scenes," or that sandbags progressive causes other than Iraq.

7/16/2006 6:42 AM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Obviusly, Lamont has no ratings as he has no experience, except that selecman jobby thing he did when he voted 80% of the time with Republicans.

Please don't argue that it's small potatoes because someone who has small potatoes experience doesn't have enough political acumen to effectively serve the state and nation.

If you want to argue that it's significant experience then his far-right rebublican leanings are significant as well.

This hasn't been addressed by the LieberHaters/Lamonsitas (btw, I love the term KosKids as they aren't even being addressed as adults).

The point made above is an enormous elephant under the Progressive-Only tent. What little experience with the public Ned has is well, little experience. But if you want to say that's sufficient experience then you have to say his voting 80% of the time with Republicans is sufficient to question where his loyalties really are.

Time for the Lamonistas to put on their tinfoil thinking KosKaps and see if they can find away to salvage a rage-based campaign that has no substance except the promulgation of more hate. That really is a serious problem--Lamont and his Bloggers of Rage ~ The campaign that elevates hate over thought, rage over ration and expletives over excellence.

BTW, that earmark stuff, you remember--the fundng that gets needed work and with it those needed jobs. Has someone explained those percentages to Lamont's coaching staff yet? Does he understand any of it at all? Especially the JOBS part.

7/16/2006 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seedfreak: You're right, Lieberman really does understand jobs. He's especially good at shipping them overseas so we don't have any here in CT.

7/16/2006 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahahahaha. Wow, you really want to open up the can of worms about shipping jobs overseas?

Lieberman supports trade policies that have CREATED jobs in CT, since CT is a trade-heavy state. Whose unemployment rate has stayed below the national average throughout his time in the Senate:

And it has been getting yet lower over the past year:

Lamont on the other hand, ran a telecom company with an indisputable record of outsourcing their jobs out of America.

Thanks for playing into Lieberman's strength!

7/16/2006 8:42 AM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Lamont outsourced and undercut the people?!?!?!?

I read that his company went from about a hundred employees to a number in the thirties, I assumed that things weren't going well, but I didn't know the cause was outsourcing.

This has to be indisputably documented.

If he is doing something so anti-people, so anti-jobs, so anti-American--taking the food off our tables, taking the shoes off our childrens feet--so ruinous of our American way of life that supports middle-class growth, if he is indeed practicing the old-style politics of personal greed, then this needs to be made front-page asap.

We need the evidence that supports this--it's all good and well to try to make the case with suggestive reasoning as the Lamonistas do, but trying isn't going to cut it, it must be inarguable.


7/16/2006 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point, SF. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case given the nature of the telecom industry, but we Lieberman supporters shouldn't make the Lamontista mistake of making statements without providing any evidence to back it up.

7/16/2006 10:58 AM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

So true. We need the assured facts to begin this dialogue--it is a damaging to NL's credibility if it is so, actually more than damaging, it is extremely harmful to his campaign.

With some brief looking I've found a possible connection to outsourcing through a partner company of CampusTelevideo. The partner is Vonage.

From what I've found on google there are claims that Vonage does outsource and then there are claims that is doesn't--it need to be looked at with eyes of better understanding than mine.


7/16/2006 11:56 AM  
Blogger Ken Balbari said...


It is a matter of pure logic that to defeat every Democrat who is to one side of the party median would require the defeat of half of the Democrats in the Senate (well maybe half minus one).

Further, you had to go back to the 101st Congress (1989-1990), when there was a 55-45 Democrat majority, to find years when he was even closer to the floor median than to the party median.

From your own numbers, over the last decade (the last 5 Senates), since the Republican takeover, he has been far closer to the party median than to the floor median. His average differnce from the party median for that time is only +.0638. His average difference from the floor median is -.366. And you didn't supply the Republican party median, but for the last 5 congresses the Republican party has averaged a difference of +.322 from the floor median.

You're not going to find very many Democrats who were closer to the party median than Lieberman. He's right in the mainstream of the party, extremely close to the party median for the last decade. He's been farther to the left of the floor median than the Republican median has been to the right of it.

7/16/2006 2:04 PM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

So even the Lamontista poster's preferred statistics shows Lieberman to be a mainstream Dem.

Nicely done, Ken!

7/16/2006 2:41 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

A Centrista!

7/16/2006 3:52 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

What I have found about the so-called "left," you know, the delusional ones who think they are the "base" of the party, is that they are as capable of lying as the Republicans.

They are Republican enablers unless or until they start working to oust Republicans out of office and quit cannibalizing our party.

7/20/2006 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you can really smell the desperation in the air at Leiber-central. The childish retorts, the name-calling, the I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I comments all really help set the tone of a ship going down.

My question is, why should Democrats support a candidate who attacks their own party on a forum like Hannity & Colmes? He has also repeatedly attacked the Democrats in other ultra-conservative forums--in the end is this someone who hurts or helps his party? And if his party is hurt by his actions, then their platform to better the country's condition is hurt as well.

We can play count the votes all we want, but at the end of the day a Senator's job is to also provide a public face for his and his party's beliefs. For his actions on that front, JL deserves the heave-ho.

7/21/2006 6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susan-- your assertion that a primary challenge is "cannibalizing the party" is nonsensical. In this primary election, there is a challenge to an incumbent Dem who likes to lend people like Hannity a helping hand with their hateful rhetoric, which seriously hurts our ability to win the War on Terrorism by stigmatizing criticism of the president's numerous mistakes as "undermining credibility at our peril." If Lamont replaces Lieberman, the Democratic party becomes stronger (cutting loose a guy who can always been counted on to provide cover for the most corrosive Republican rhetoric), and America becomes better. No cannibalism at all!

I mean, it's not like this is part of a jihad against centrist Dems-- you don't see Ben Nelson getting targeted, for example. If this were but a part of a larger purge, then it would be bad. But, because it's based on a number of specific things that Lieberman has done that are Bad for America, a primary challenge is just the ticket.

7/21/2006 7:47 AM  
Anonymous cfaller96 said...

david mizner said:
if you take out those strongly Iraq-tinted foreign policy votes, Lieberman comes out far more liberal than his detractors claim.

Why would anyone want to "take out" Lieberman's position on the Iraq War? Agree, disagree, whatever, but it's an important issue regardless. Why would you ask people to ignore such an important issue?

And why do you think Lieberman's record only has to be held up to other Democrats and Republicans in office already? Lieberman is running against Lamont, not DailyKos. How does Lieberman's position on, say, abortion, gay marriage, and the Iraq War compare to Lamont's? Is Lamont more liberal on these issues? Are Lamont's positions more in synch than Lieberman's with Connecticut primary voters?

SeedFreak said:
Oh my GOD! You mean he's a Centrist Democrat, willing to work with people to get the job done for the people of Connecticut and the USA.

Who ever heard of such a thing!

As a Northeast liberal who now lives in the South, I think it's important to elect strong liberals wherever possible. Connecticut is a state that is willing to elect candidates more liberal than Joe Lieberman, and so I think they should do just that. The moderate centrist Democrats of the world would do much better down here.

Plus, you can't hold a moderate Republican in the Northeast like Lincoln Chafee to a higher, more liberal standard than Joe Lieberman. If you want a Democrat to unseat Lincoln Chafee (as I assume all Democrats do) because Chafee's not liberal enough for Rhode Island, then it's completely fair to unseat Joe Lieberman for the same reason in Connecticut.

7/21/2006 9:06 AM  
Blogger Matt Lehrman said...

Once again, Lieberman supporters entirely missing the point of most critiques of Lieberman. It is not that Lieberman is actually a conservative, but the point that you bring up - his votes are not only with conservatives on major issues, but they are flat out wrong morally, ethically and they will undoubtedly fall on the wrong side of history (Roberts and Iraq are HUGE, HUGE issues, plus bankruptcy reform, outweighing many liberal votes he has cost,).

Also, this unfortunately has to be an image issue as well. The Democrats simply cannot use the incompentence of the administration/Republican Congress as a major issue with images of Joe being kissed by the President. It was Cosa Nostra-esque and it is downright embarrassing. If Lieberman had held a press conference after the kiss and blasted the President for kissing him, everything else would have gone away and he would be a legend to all Democrats.

Instead, he should lose on August 8th and ride quietly into the night.

7/21/2006 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In his book "Take on the Street", Arthur Levitt Jr., former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, portrayed Lieberman as a hypocrite. Levitt recalled that in 1993, the Financial Accounting Standards Board "voted unanimously to seek comment on a rule that would make companies put a fair value on their stock option grants and record that number as an expense. Corporate lobbyists, outraged by the FASB's perfidy, persuaded Congress to hold hearings." According to Levitt, Lieberman "led the charge. He introduced legislation to bar the SEC from enforcing the rule. In addition, Lieberman wanted to strip the FASB of authority by requiring the SEC to ratify each of its decisions, in effect relegating private-sector standards to mere recommendations. Lieberman didn't stop there. He also sponsored a Senate resolution that declared the FASB proposal a cockamamie idea that would havegrave consequences for America's entrepreneurs … While Lieberman's bill did not pass, his resolution did—by an overwhelming 88-9 as an unmistakable signal that Lieberman had the votes to stop the FASB if it pushed ahead.


INTERVIEW: Arthur Levitt

Chairman of the SEC from 1993 to 2000, Levitt says the Enron scandal is "symptomatic of a breakdown of the ethical values of business over a period of perhaps 20 years." He is very critical of what he calls "accounting hocus-pocus" or how companies have become more creative in their interpretations of accounting standards. In this interview, he describes the political heat he took during the three big accounting battles of the 1990s, and calls for an independent agency with subpoena power to oversee the accounting industry. This interview was conducted by FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith on March 12, 2002.

You've been talking a lot about distortions of reality. Is the failure to expense stock options a distortion? Does that distort company income?

Yes. Investors should care deeply about expensing stock options, because those options represent a distortion of the earnings of the company. Right now, options are treated as a footnote, but that's not good enough. Those options represent a claim on the company, and a claim that may very well and has been exercised.

So what you're saying is stock options are a cost of doing business that businesses don't show their shareholders?

Stock options are a cost of doing business that is not clear to many American investors.

[Prior to the Gingrich Revolution, what happened in the Senate regarding the FASB rule?]

The Senate passed a [resolution] about the proposal of the standard setter to expense stock options. Why did they do it? There was no question in my mind that campaign contributions played the determinative role in that Senate activity. Corporate America waged the most aggressive lobbying campaign I think that they had ever put together on behalf of this issue. And the Congress was responsive to that.

You have Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut leading the charge. Why?

I don't know. I honestly don't know. Sen. Lieberman is my own home senator, and I have great regard and respect for him. I've spoken to him about this issue a number of times. And I simply do not understand where he's coming from.

What were his arguments?

The arguments were the arguments being used by the business community: that this was a break on entrepreneurship; that this would keep companies from being able to hire good people; that this would destroy companies; that this would distort their earnings. All the arguments used by the business community were the ones set forth by Senator Lieberman in his opposition. ...

7/21/2006 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Don't you guys get it, already? Lieberman gives cover to the Republicans. He repeats their talking points. He agrees with their rhetoric.

Lieberman goes on the floor of the Senate to berate Clinton for his penis while he fully supports Bush in his international flailings which result in thousands, tens of thousands, of deaths. He accuses Clinton of being a bad example for his personal life while telling critics of Bush's public policy and administrative mistakes to shut up because it undermines national security.

Lieberman accuses Lamont of holding Halliburton stock while opposing the war. If Lamont really were beholden to Halliburton, wouldn't he be supporting the war? Instead, he's doing the exact opposite, against his own financial interests, because he actually believes this war is morally, tactically, and strategically flawed.

If there IS a question as to an appearance of impropriety, then go look at Lieberman's stocks. The number three stock in his portfolia is Halliburton, and Lieberman is doing all he can to pump up Halliburton's stock price. Can you say conflict of interest? Or is this just Lieberman being "consistent"? Honestly, people. Think.

The argument as a whole is flawed as well. It's the same argument that goes, "If you believe in environmentalism, then you must not drive." Or, "If you believe the war for oil is wrong, then you must stop using all petro-chemicals."

As for outsourcing jobs, let me ask you a question: What's your position on NAFTA? Jobs being sent to Mexico? Guess how Lieberman voted on that?

Experience? You can argue he lacks experience in politics. That's fine. Lamont is a self-made multi-millionaire who is running a grassroots campaign that is not just challenging, but dominating a 3-term incumbent. Golly. That's some impressive business and political acumen. First time out, no less. As a business and political person, don't you guys think he'd be a great addition to the Senate?

For his 80% voting record with the Republicans... do you guys know what the hell a town selectman does??? They don't exactly vote on the most polarizing issues this world over. There is rarely, if ever, a left-right divide on whether a stop sign should be put up on a local neighborhood block.

Or check this out...

"Special Exception Permit Modification for construction of a barn-style play area."

"Special Exception Permit Modification to add retail chocolate and gelato business with seating as a permitted use."

Not too many major policy disagreements in those major issues of the day, huh?

Apologies for length, but there was a lot of stuff that needed to be addressed.

7/21/2006 11:01 AM  

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