Steny Hoyer, Centrist? Since When?

Thursday'sTimes led with the Senate's approval of the $700 billion financial bailout. Congressional reporter Carl Hulse found that both "conservative House Republicans and liberal Democrats remained adamantly opposed," and quoted one of those conservatives, Rep. Joe Barton, Republican of Texas. But when did the clearly liberal House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer become a centrist?

While popular, the tax breaks, which had been the center of a bitter dispute between House and Senate Democrats, caused problems as well.

A coalition of centrist Democrats led by Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, had refused to back the tax benefits unless they were deficit neutral - offset by tax increases or spending cuts elsewhere. The bill now includes the Senate version of the tax plan, which adds most of the cost to the deficit over the next decade.

The "centrist Democrat" Hoyer? The American Conservative Union setsthe lifetime political rating of the veteran lawmaker at 8 out of a possible 100 (down to 4 in both 2006 and 2007), placing him far on the left-end of the Democratic spectrum, andHoyer earned astrong 90 out of 100 from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action.

Hulse has a bad habit of turning liberal Democrats into "centrists" or even "conservatives."