Washington Post reporter Ed O'Keefe defends the inclusion of two Arkansas Senators in the so-called "Gang of 10" health care negotiations:
Washington, D.C.: Is it just me, or is Arkansas a bit overrepresented in the "Gang of 10"?
Ed O'Keefe: It's a moderate state with moderate lawmakers, so it makes sense to me!
Arkansas is a "moderate state"? Really?
Let's use the 2008 presidential election returns as a proxy, shall we?
Nationally, Barack Obama won about 53 percent of the vote, to John McCain's 46 percent.
In Arkansas, Obama won 39 percent to McCain's 59 percent. Wow, that sure looks like Arkansas was pretty far out of the mainstream, doesn't it?
Let's compare that to a few other states, shall we? In California, Obama took 61 percent of the vote to McCain's 37 percent. In New York, Obama won 63 percent to McCain's 36 percent. And in Massachusetts, Obama won 62 percent to McCain's 36 percent. All of those totals are closer to the national totals than Arkansas' results are. Now: How often do you see reporters refer to California, New York and Massachusetts as "moderate states"? Not very often.
So what states did deviate from the national results by roughly the same amount as Arkansas? In Alabama, Obama won 39 percent of the vote to McCain's 60 percent. In Mississippi, Obama won 43 percent and McCain 56 percent. So Arkansas was more anti-Obama than Mississippi, and about the same as Alabama.
Are Alabama and Mississippi your idea of "moderate" states?