Weiner & The Rating Game
Today's Post disputes Anthony Weiner's claim on the tax-cutter mantle by citing the low ratings he's received from a number of anti-tax groups. What about some of Anthony's other ratings?
The American Conservative Unionthe gold standard for the hard righthas Weiner at 8 percent lifetime, although he earned a 21 percent mark in 2003. ACU's liberal counterpart, Americans for Democratic Action, gave the wiry congressman a 100 percent mark in 2004, as well as in 2003 and 2002yes, that's right, the year Weiner voted for that well-known bleeding heart project, the Iraq war. Incidentally, ADA's lifetime ratings have Chuck Schumer at 98 and Ted Kennedy at 90.
Is Schumer really 8 percent more liberal than Teddy? Maybe there's something a little wacky about these rating systems. Take Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the groups cited in the Post report. Weiner earned a 13 from them in 2003. Boy, you say, Anthony must love government wastehe voted for it 87 percent of the time! But wait: CAGW's list of votes on which the grade was based includes:
- A bill to cap damages in malpractice suits (CAGW wanted a YES vote)
- An amendment to cut fuel consumption (CAGW wanted a MO)
- An amendment to prohibit oil drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (CAGW wanted a NO vote)
- A bill allowing importation of prescription drugs from Canada (CAGW wanted a NO)
- A bill creating a school voucher program in the District (CAGW wanted a YES)
Those are just a few of the votes on the list, but they don't seem to have much to do with government waste or taxes; instead, they seem to reflect a broader right-wing agenda. So perhaps Weiner's ratings, good or bad, should be taken with a hefty grain of salt.
Of course, we should also sprinkle some of the white stuff on any politician's promise to cut taxes. A souvenir from the 2001 campaign is a Bloomberg mailer that screams "The Last Thing NYC Needs Now Is Higher Taxes" and inside features a quote from Mark Green saying "I would never rule out a tax increase." One might recall that Bloomberg, contrary to his campaign rhetoric, didn't rule out a tax increase either; in fact, during the 2002 budget crisis, he asked for the largest property tax hike in city history.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.