When did Democrats stop calling themselves "liberal"?
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., when asked whether he considered himself a liberal, treated the questioner as if she belonged to the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the McCarthy years.
Elizabeth Bumiller (New York Times): The National Journal, a respected, nonideologic (sic) publication covering Congress . . . has just rated you, Sen. Kerry, No. 1, the most liberal senator in the Senate. . . . How can you hope to win with this kind of characterization, in this climate?
John Kerry: Because it's a laughable characterization, it's absolutely the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in my life.
Bumiller: Are you a liberal?
Kerry: . . . (L)ook, labels are so silly in American politics. . . . Do you know what they measured in that? First of all, they measured 62 votes. I voted 37 times; 25 votes they didn't even count because I wasn't there to vote for them. . . .
Secondly . . . they counted my voting against the Medicare bill, which is a terrible bill for seniors in America, they called that being liberal. Lots of conservatives voted against that. In addition, they counted my voting against George Bush's tax cut that we can't afford. I thought it was fiscally conservative to vote against George Bush's tax cut. They call it liberal.
Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio: Let me answer directly. I'm liberal. . . .
Dan Rather (CBS): Congressman, do you consider Sen. Kerry a liberal by your definition?
Kucinich: I don't think so, because he voted for the war. He voted for the Patriot Act. He supported NAFTA and the WTO. I would say that . . .
Rather: Rev. Sharpton, do you consider Sen. Kerry a liberal?
Al Sharpton: . . . I think that compared to some of us, no. I think we've made ourselves clear on that.
The Americans for Democratic Action gives Kerry an even higher lifetime liberal rating than senior Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. As mentioned, the National Journal rates Kerry as the chamber's most liberal member.
Still, just don't call a "liberal" a "liberal." Leftist Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi of California also treats the "L" word as if it were toxic. She calls herself a "progressive."
"Fiscally conservative" Kerry wants to raise taxes on the rich, never mind that the top 5 percent of income-earners pay over 53 percent of income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent pay just 3.9 percent. Kerry expects to use his record as a decorated Vietnam vet to deflect the customary accusation against Democrats as "soft on defense." But, as a senator, he voted against nearly every major military munitions program, including those used in Iraq and Afghanistan.