Dennis Kucinich, Right-Wing Democrat?

If you’re a politics buff, you probably remember the way National Journal‘s ratings were used in the 2004 and 2008 elections to establish that the Democratic candidate was the “most liberal voting record in the Senate”–first John Kerry (Extra! Update, 6/04), then Barack Obama (CounterSpin, 3/28/08). FAIR pointed out the flawed methodology that the magazine was using, but the headline-grabbing findings still had a profound–and profoundly misleading–impact on both races.

Now National Journal has released its rankings for 20098 (2/28/1009), and they reveal that Dennis Kucinich is one of the more conservative members of the Democratic caucus–he’s the 240th most conservative representative out of 416 ranked by the Journal. He’s more conservative, according to the Journal rankings, than Blue Dog Democrats like Mike Arcuri (No. 243), Dennis Cardoza (No. 245) and Robert Marion Berry (No. 248).

Virtually any political observer will tell you that Kucinich is one of the most if not the most progressive member of Congress. Either none of them understand the political spectrum, or the National Journal‘s rankings are useless–take your pick.

As reader Matt points out, the rankings linked to above are for 2008, not 2009. In the rankings for 2009, which are accessible only to National Journal subscribers at this point, Kucinich is a little farther to the left–270th most conservative out of 435 members–but is still grouped with “The Centrists,” part of the “ideological center of the House of Representatives” according to the Journal‘s dubious rating system.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.