Allies of President Barack Obama frequently complain about how the tendency among House Republicans to march — and vote — in lockstep keeps thwarting his agenda.
A cadre of House Democrats, though, do a striking job of sticking together as well, as evidenced in the National Journal’s annual ideological ranking of the chamber’s lawmakers. Based on 116 votes on selected issues in 2012, the magazine ranked 14 Democrats as tied for the title of “most liberal.” All compiled a score of supporting the liberal position 94.5 percent of the time, closely followed by four others who tied with a 92. 5 percent score.
On the conservative side of the ledger, there was a clear winner: Todd Akin of Missouri, who became nationally known last summer when he opined that “legitimate rap” rarely leads to pregnancy — a comment that cost him the Senate seat he had been expected to win. Akin racked up a 97 percent conservative score in the National Journal tally, followed by Austin Scott of Georgia (96.8 percent), Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee (96.5 percent) and Jeff Landry of Louisiana (96.2 percent).
Scott and Blackburn remain in office. Landry, like Akin, didn’t return for the current session; he lost a December runoff in a redrawn district that pitted him against another Republican incumbent, Charles Boustany.
The list of leading liberals includes five from California — Mike Honda, Barabara Lee, Linda Sanchez, Pete Stark and Lynn Woolsey. The first three won re-election last November, while Stark was defeated in a primary and Woolsey retired.
Massachusetts has two of the list, Jim McGovern and John Olver, as does Illinois, Danny Davis and Bobby Rush. The latter three are still in office; Olver — who had been ranked “most liberal” for five years running — retired.
Rounding out the list were Yvette Clark of New York, William Lacy Clay of Missouri, John Conyers of Michigan, Donna Edwards of Maryland and John Lewis of Georgia. All continue to serve in the House.