Opinion: Obama’s no longer the most liberal senator. So who is she?

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Well, the always-controversial and brand-new ideological rankings are out this morning from the National Journal, and Barack Obama is no longer the most liberal member of the United States Senate.

That distinction falls to a Western Democrat, Patty Murray of Washington -- shown here on the left, strangely enough. She holds that distinction all by her lonesome with a 92.7 composite liberal score (meaning she voted more liberally on the Journal’s key votes than 92.7% of her colleagues).

Rhode Island’s Jack Reed was second with a 91.5 score and California’s Barbara Boxer third with a puny 90.2 liberal ranking. (California’s other female senator, Dianne Feinstein, was 18th-most liberal with 81).

And who’s the most conservative member in one of the world’s most exclusive clubs?

Actually, it’s a tie -- four Republicans, also Westerners and three of them named John/Jon -- Dr.John Barrasso and Michael Enzi, both of Wyoming, John Ensign of Nevada (symbolically on the right here pointing to our right) and Jon Kyl of Arizona, shown above overcome with joy at news of his conservative ranking. (Not really; the photographer just caught him rubbing his face.)


Each of the four had a 93.2 conservative rating from the Journal, meaning they were slightly more conservative conservatives than liberal Murray was liberal.

Over on the House side, well, who cares?

There’s way too many of them to bother. Suffice it to say, 12 Democrats -- seven of them women and five of the 12 from California -- tied for most liberal with 93.2 ratings.

Three Republicans tied for most conservative -- an Arizonan, a Texan and a Georgian, none of them named John -- each with a 97.3 conservative rating.

You can access a fascinating National Journal interactive graphic here for both the House rankings and the Senate with all kinds of ways to manipulate the data. They also have information showing rankings from previous years.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credits: Associated Press (Sen. Jon Kyl-top), Sen. Patty Murray (left), Sen. John Ensign (right).