Report: Tom Wolf Is Nation’s Most Liberal Governor

Here's why the ranking is silly.

Tom Wolf has been ranked as the nation’s most liberal governor by InsideGov, a website that tracks and analyzes government data.

Wolf, Pennsylvania’s governor, achieved the ranking after being compared to peers based on “public statements, press releases, campaign platforms and voting records to score each governor’s view on important issues.” Butch Otter of Idaho was ranked most conservative.

With Wolf, though, it seems, the ranking is a bit premature. Yes, he’s been through a campaign — and barely tested, either in the primary or general elections. But halfway through his first year in office, at least, he doesn’t have much in the way of accomplishments, liberal or conservative, to factor in.

Yes, he favors a severance tax on Marcellus Shale. Yes, he’s for a big increase in ed funding. Those two factors alone would probably get him most of the way to the ranking. But right now, Wolf is squared off against a GOP-dominated legislature interested in neither of those things. And they’re more than a month past deadline in producing a budget that will decide if those priorities are enacted.

Until a budget gets produced — and we get a better sense of Wolf’s priorities when compromise is a necessary element in getting things done, instead of just expressing his wish list — calling him “most liberal” is aspirational at best. Let’s see what the record actually produces. Unless he’s able to produce a liberal track record — or, conversely, able to keep conservatives from achieving their aims — there’s very little about “most liberal” that will be meaningful, except in some conservative politician’s ad campaign.