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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Middle Class: Herseth Sandlin Good, Johnson Middling, Thune Deficient

The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy sponsors a little website called TheMiddleClass.org, where they try to put major legislation in the context job and retirement security, home affordability, access to health care and good education, and other issues that make for a reasonably comfortable middle-class life.

TheMiddleClass.org also issues Middle Class Grades for each member of Congress. How does South Dakota's Congressional delegation score on middle-class issues?

Running score for 2009
Grade for 2008
Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin77%
Sen. Tim Johnson
Sen. John Thune

On middle-class issues, Sen. Thune is at the bottom of the class. But hey, at least he's improving: he got F's during his first three years in the Senate. Maybe by election time next year, he can bump that score up to a whopping C.

Senator Johnson, alas, has been slipping: he managed an A back in 2003, but it's been mostly Cs since. And SHS has been working her way up, slow and steady, from Cs at the start to Bs now.

End note: TheMiddleClass.org gives SHS's vote for the Food Safety Enhancement Act a thumbs up for middle class concerns, in contrast with my position. Interesting.


  1. What's with the grade inflation? Last I heard, a 22% was a big fat F.


  2. Re re: By DMI's grading scheme, 22% will get Thune an F for 2009, while that 67% could pull Johnson up to a B. DMI's cut-offs are 90, 80, 50, and 40—still pretty slack at the lower end!

    Note: Among the nine Senators maintaining a perfect A+ so far this year: socialist Bernie Sanders!

  3. Basically this is a rating system designed to make Dems (libs) look good and Reps (conservatives) look bad for the middle class. Just look at the rankings. I don't buy it. Just call it by what it really is, a ranking of how liberal Senators are. Has nothing to do with how well they do for the "middle class."


  4. [Nice to see you again, Linda!]

    Now, Linda, how can you say that? I agree, you look at the list, and you see Dems (and a socialist!) on the top and the hard right GOPers like Thune, Coburn, Kyl, and DeMint, at the bottom. But that doesn't inherently mean the numbers are rigged. The ranking could be perfectly honest and represent a tendency of Dem policies to be better for the middle class than are GOP policies. Can you provide a source that says the DMI is inherently biased? Can you point to the issues they include on their report card and demonstrate that they fail to accurately represent middle class concerns? You can choose not to buy it, but can you show us why no one else should buy it?

  5. In my opinion, everyone is biased, and the polarization of the electorate is increasing. Maybe soon, we'll all be either fascists or communists.

    Today I spoke with someone who thinks that Barack Obama is "worse than evil," and that he is intent on destroying the United States.

    Plenty of people feel that G. W. Bush and Dick Cheney were, and still are, evil.

    All rubbish, say I.

    Sometimes I feel "left out in the middle."

    I've written to all three of our people in Congress, and also to the governor. Mike Rounds and Tim Johnson wrote me back by snail mail on fine stationery. John Thune and Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin did not respond in any fashion.

    How should my liberal-vs.-conservative bias go in on the basis of that (admittedly meager) data?


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