Phrases like "bleeding heart liberal" and "conservative ideologue" get thrown around in political discussions like slurs, but the National Journal's annual congressional vote rankings actually show you how liberal and conservative each congressman and senator is.
The 2009 rankings are in, and there are a few surprising results from Florida.
First off, "hot liberal mess" Alan Grayson is far from a reliable lefty. In fact, he's not even the most liberal congressperson in Florida. Far from it. Grayson is only the 170th most liberal congressperson in the House, and the 6th in Florida. Tampa-area rep Kathy Castor is the most liberal from Florida, and 9th in the entire House. Alcee Hastings follows closely behind with a ranking of 12th in the House.
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, with an 86.5 liberal score and a 13.5 conservative score, is third in Florida and 43rd overall.
Meanwhile, as he anticipates a run for Senate, it seems that Kendrick Meek's voting record has become more moderate.
In 2008 he was the 85th most liberal congressman, last year he was only the 176th. His votes on foreign affairs were particularly moderate, with a score of 52 liberal and 47 conservative.
Meanwhile, Miami's trio of Cuban-American Republican still remain quite moderate. Though, in 2008 they were the three most centrist Republicans from Florida, this year Ginny Brown-Wait is the most moderate Republican from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtnin is second, followed in order by Ander Crenshaw, Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
Ros-Lehtnin's votes on Social issues, while still veering more conservative, are actually more liberal than many Democrats.
The most conservative member from Florida? Jeff Miller.
Meanwhile, neither Senator Bill Nelson or retired Mel Martinez stuck out much ideologically. Democrat Nelson was the 39th most liberal senator, was Martinez was the 33rd most conservative.