Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, conservative?
Thursday's Times was packed with results from individual House and Senate races, was also chock-full of labeling slant. Western-based reporter Kirk Johnson in Denver on Thursday, surveyed the grim post-election aftermath for Republicans from Denver Thursday and found one reason Republicans lost:
Here in Colorado, minority status by the Republicans combined with a drift toward socially conservative orthodoxy that political scholars say has been an increasingly tough sell to newcomers.
As for liberal labels, there were two in a front-page story by David Herszenhorn and Carl Hulse, "Democrats in Congress Vowing To Pursue an Aggressive Agenda ," balanced by a reference to "more conservative Democrats."
Thursday's special state-by-state analysis section, written by a scattered team of 11 Times reporters, was a cornucopia of labeling slant, with 11 references to conservatives vs. 4 for liberals. That actually marks an improvement from a similar guide after the 2004 presidential election ,in whichconservative references outnumbered liberal ones 20-2. (Then again, what else can you say about results from Massachusetts and Vermont?)
Some tidbits from Thursday's edition:
In Arizona, Rep. John Shadegg wascalled "a scion of the conservative establishment in the state." Elsewhere, there were a couple of references to "fiscally conservative" Democrats.
Christopher Shays of Connecticut, the lone conservative in a region long dyed blue, suffered a startling defeat to a Democratic businessman from Greenwich, Jim Himes."
Shays, a conservative? Shay is a at most a centrist: His rating from the American Conservative Union is 45 (out of a possible 100), making him the most liberal Republican in the House or Senate based on my eyeballing of ACU's list . For good measure, Shays also scored ahealthy 55 rating out of 100 on a similar vote-rating system issued by ACU's liberal counterpart, Americans for Democratic Action  in 2007. The Times later notedShay's reputation as "a fiscal conservative and social progressive," again avoiding the word "liberal."