Politico Erroneously Tags Retiring Rep. Dan Boren as 'Conservative Democrat'

June 9th, 2011 11:22 AM

Whether it's deliberate obfuscation or just plain laziness is up for debate, but the media have a penchant for misleading news consumers with the meme that Blue Dog Democrats are politically "conservative." While the Blue Dog caucus is decidedly more moderate than Democrats as a whole -- you could individual members are "conservative for a Democrat" -- they rarely if ever qualify as conservatives when you look at the entirety of their voting records.

Take Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.), who on Tuesday announced he will not seek reelection in 2012. Noting that "Another Blue Dog bites the dust," Politico staffers Alex Isenstadt and David Catanese noted that "one more conservative House Democrat is packing it in," which is just "the latest blow to the party’s moderate-conservative wing, a faction that is beginning to look like the nearly extinct Gypsy moth Republicans of the Northeast."

But a look at Boren's American Conservative Union scores shows he's moderate at best, with a lifetime average ACU score of 49.83 percent (100% being pure conservative and 0% being pure liberal). What's more, in the first two years of Obama's terms, Boren has trended more liberal than his lifetime average, with 44 and 38-percent scores for 2009 and 2010 respectively.

It's also instructive that other Blue Dogs that Isenstadt and Catanese quoted -- former Reps. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) -- also had dismally-low ACU scores.

Tanner's lifetime score was 39.40 conservative but his 2009 and 2010 scores were below that average at 20 and 17 respectively. Pomeroy had single-digit scores in the Obama era, eight and four in 2009 and 2010 respectively, well below his already liberal 21.18 percent lifetime average.

Tanner and Boren both voted against final passage of ObamaCare, whereas Pomeroy voted for it.