Who's the most liberal of them all?

The National Journal unveils its latest rankings.

Published February 24, 2006 8:38PM (EST)

During the 2004 presidential race, Dick Cheney claimed that the National Journal had taken a look at John Kerry's two decades of service in the U.S. Senate and declared him to be the country's "most liberal" senator. Like much of what Cheney has said over the years, it wasn't true. Among sitting senators, Kerry's lifetime voting record put him at 11th on the National Journal's list of sitting senators -- liberal, but not the "most liberal," as Cheney had insisted.

We're sure that the vice president -- who claims to put such a premium on accuracy -- wouldn't want to make the same mistake again. So to help him out, here's the National Journal's new "top 10" list of "most liberal senators" for the year 2005: 1. Ted Kennedy; 2. Jack Reed; 3. Barbara Boxer; 4. Paul Sarbanes; 5. Frank Lautenberg; 6. Tom Harkin; 7. Dick Durbin; 8. John Kerry; 9. Debbie Stabenow; and 10. Barbara Mikulski.

"Eighth most liberal" doesn't have quite the same stinging ring as "most liberal" does, and the rankings of other would-be Democratic presidential contenders are even clankier: Russ Feingold checks in at 14, Joe Biden at 19, Hillary Clinton at 20 and Evan Bayh at 33.

At the other end of the list? The National Journal says the most conservative senators in 2005 were: 1. Tom Coburn; 2. Wayne Allard; 3. Jeff Sessions; 4. Jim Bunning; 5. Trent Lott; 6. Johnny Isakson; 7. Saxby Chambliss; 8. George Allen; 9. Robert Bennett; and 10. Orrin Hatch.

Ranking trivia bonus round: The National Journal says Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chafee is slightly more liberal than Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu -- and that five Republicans are more liberal than Nebraska Democrat and early Sam Alito supporter Ben Nelson.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Dick Cheney John F. Kerry D-mass.