The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 October 2004

Speaking of political ratings

Michael Crane has compiled a monster of a book called The Political Junkie Handbook, billed as "The Definitive Reference Book on Politics," 600-odd pages of facts, figures and whatnot, selling for $30 (quantity rates apply if you buy 5 or more). In an effort to draw attention to it, Crane apparently sent excerpts to some of us who are hard-up to fill blog space every morning, with the note "Please share this interesting information with your readers."

Fair enough. What I got was a list of a dozen lifetime ratings given to Senator John Kerry by various organizations, six liberal and six conservative, and judging by my spot-checks of a couple of them, converted from letter grades to numbers as needed. I figured I would arrange these in order of ascending rating, which presumably would therefore arrange the organizations in order of descending conservatism. (Ties are listed alphabetically.) Without further ado:

  •     0: Chamber of Commerce (2003 rating only)
  •     0: Family Research Council
  •     5: American Conservative Union
  •   10: Gun Owners of America
  •   14: National Taxpayers Union
  •   25: Citizens Against Government Waste
  •   85: Public Citizen
  •   92: Americans for Democratic Action
  • 100: American Association of University Professors
  • 100: Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
  • 100: Human Rights Campaign
  • 100: NARAL

Inasmuch as the National Rifle Association has worked diligently to portray Kerry as the right-hand man of the Antichrist — okay, that's a slight exaggeration — I was curious to see how Gun Owners of America, which is by most accounts a harder-nosed group than the NRA, managed to find ten points for him. And from their current Senate ratings page, I conclude that they figure he could be worse: he may vote against their interests all the time, but at least he doesn't introduce anti-gun measures. This undoubtedly is how Kerry gets an F, while Ted Kennedy, who does sponsor stuff like that, gets an F-minus.

There aren't any real surprises in this list, to be sure. But it's useful, I think, to look at the whole ball of wax at once, especially if your opinions, like mine, veer in from all over the spectrum.

Posted at 8:23 AM to Political Science Fiction