Thursday, February 21, 2013

Some Illinois pride

Tomorrow, National Journal will publish rankings of the most liberal and most conservative members of the US Congress, according to members’ votes. Today, they released teasers that are interesting in themselves.

Among the US Senate's top 16 most liberal members, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois was rated as tied for third. This is ironic, considering how many in the US' political left don't like him because of his record on certain issues (a topic in itself, but his incorrect stance on Internet freedom is one of them). Still, he’s right on many issues, and politics is not a game that purists win.

Illinois’ other US Senator, Republican Mark Kirk, was not on the list of the top 16 most conservative US Senators. That’s good. The top 16 are all Republicans, of course. Also, I doubt many Americans have ever heard of the most conservative Senator (I hadn’t).

Among the top 26 most liberal House Members are three from Illinois, including two (Danny Davis and Bobby Rush) in a 14-way tie for most liberal. My own US Representative, Jan Schakowsky, was tied for 24th. Not too bad.

There were NO Illinois US Representatives among the top 26 most conservative US House Members—great news! Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin was the most conservative. There were no Democrats on that list, either, of course.

The full lists will be interesting, but I’m glad to see that my home state is so well represented among liberals—although I’d like to see more on the lists, of course. It also doesn’t surprise me that we don’t have any seriously rightwing conservatives—Illinois just isn’t that kind of state (in 2012, Illinois voters kicked out their “Teapublican” US Representatives, replacing them with Democrats). Illinois has long been a mostly moderate state that sometimes goes a bit right of centre, and sometimes a bit to the left.

All of which are more reasons I’m proud to be from that state.

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