By DEROY MURDOCK
SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE
NEW YORK -- If Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's rightward march continues, her media cheerleaders will relaunch her as "Hillary Rodham Goldwater." Sympathetic commentators have ballyhooed the New York Democrat's shift toward the center. Each of her less-than-socialist utterings confirms her mounting moderation.
Don't believe the hype.
The Duchess of Chappaqua remains a committed liberal Democrat. Her capture of the White House would advance limited government about as much as would have a Walter Mondale or Al Gore victory.
Clinton's votes expose her as an Exacta-grade thoroughbred to statist liberals and a scoliotic nag to free-market conservatives.
From 0 to 100, "the middle" should rest between 33 and 66. Clinton scores well below 33 on conservative vote tallies and far higher than 66 on liberal evaluations.
The American Conservative Union gave Clinton a 0 for her 2004 Senate votes. Her career ACU rating is just 9. Among other things, Clinton opposed a bill to criminalize the injury or death of a fetus during a violent offense. She also favored hiking the top tax rate from 35 percent to 36 percent and spurned legislation to promote testing and deployment of a missile-defense shield.
For her 2004 Senate votes, the National Taxpayers Union gave Clinton an 11 percent rating -- an F.
In addition, the NTU's Bill Tally for the 108th Congress revealed that Clinton is the Senate's second-biggest spender, right behind Jon Corzine, D N.J. She sponsored or co-sponsored 211 bills to boost expenditures and only three to curb outlays. Were they all enacted, new federal spending would have zoomed $378.2 billion annually.
"That's the largest number of bills to increase spending supported by any senator," says the NTU's Pete Sepp. "Corzine would have spent more money annually ($440.7 billion), but he backed fewer pieces of legislation than did Hillary Clinton."
Clinton's 2004 votes scored her an 8 percent approval from Citizens Against Government Waste, matching her 8 percent lifetime rating.
"Hillary Clinton's 2004 rating, the 19th-worst in the entire Senate, was far below average for a Senate Democrat," according to CAGW President Tom Schatz. "Senate Democrats had an average rating of 16 percent in 2004 and 19 percent lifetime. The entire Senate's average rating in 2004 was 40 percent."
The American Security Council, a conservative foreign-policy organization, gave Clinton a 20 for her record in the 108th Congress. Her votes to shift $5.03 billion from Iraqi reconstruction to domestic programs and to strike research funds on a nuclear "bunker buster" weapon, among others, violated the ASC credo: "Peace through strength."
Clinton's grand slams on the left parallel her strikeouts on the right.
Americans for Democratic Action calls its ratings "the standard measure of political liberalism." The April 2005 ADA Today awarded Clinton a 95 rating for opposing nearly all of the "vile reactionary projects that this extremist regime raised before Congress this past year."
For her 2003 votes, Ralph Nader's Public Interest Research Group gave Clinton a 95 percent rating, exceeding her 87 percent career average.
Clinton earned a 100 percent rating for 2004 from AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the bureaucrats' union. This matched her perfect career record for advancing the agenda of government workers.
Clinton scored a 100 percent rating for 2004 from NARAL Pro-Choice America, the former National Abortion Rights Action League. It applauded Clinton for opposing the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004. As its Web site explains: "The legislation would recognize the 'unborn child' as a seperate (sic) victim when a pregnant woman is assualted (sic) or killed."
What about Clinton's call last January for Americans to find "common ground" on abortion? What the press trumpeted as an overture to anti-abortion activists "turns out to be recycled remarks from when her husband was still president," the New York Post's Eric Fettmann discovered. Clinton delivered the same remarks to NARAL gatherings in 1999 and 2005, only this time they somehow showed her sympathy for the anti-abortion cause. Fettmann isn't buying. "Same speech, same sentiments, same audience. Doesn't anyone use Google anymore?"
So, the fake's progress continues. As journalists wave their pompoms, Hillary Rodham Clinton blurs her image and increasingly calls the political center her base. Just one little thing spoils this pretty picture: Her Senate vote record.
X Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Fairfax, Va.