In its annual "power rankings" for members of Congress, a research group known as Knowlegis has put Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama as the 9th, 10th and 11th most powerful senators. These rankings come out every year, and not surprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is no. 1 in the Senate and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is tops in the House.
The Crypt found the tight rankings of the three presidential candidates to be curious, however, given the vast difference in pure legislative experience between McCain, Obama and Clinton.
McCain has been in the Senate for 22 years, is a former committee chairman and is the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee. Clinton is in her second term in the Senate, and Obama is still in his first term. Yet Knowlegis lumped the three senators together in its power rankings based on their own calculations that include position, "indirect influence," legislative activity and earmarks. On top of that, the group used the not-so-scientific criteria of "sizzle" versus "fizzle" to move lawmakers up or down the rankings, which partially explains why Obama might be high in the power rankings even though his counterparts also elected in 2004 are much further down.
The rankings also seem to ignore what daily Congress watchers have witnessed on the House and Senate floors at times. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), for example, is ranked 87th in the Senate, yet regular Senate watchers over the past couple years have seen the way DeMint can take over the chamber's proceedings and singlehandedly filibuster major bills.
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