"Moderate" Majority Leader Steny Hoyer?

Carl Hulse on Hoyer's "moderate image."

Is new majority leader Rep. Steny Hoyer really a moderate? He is according to Friday's off-lead story by congressional reporter Carl Hulse, who describes how many Democrats feel that Nancy Pelosi's "liberal reputation is offset by Mr. Hoyer's moderate image."

Huh? Hoyer's lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union is 8 out of 100, and as MRC's Tim Graham notes, both he and Pelosi have perfect 100% ratings from NARAL pro-choice America.

Hulse later refers to Hoyers as "a liberal to moderate lawmaker with close ties to the business community," which is a little closer to accurate. But why is Hulse so afraid of simply calling liberal Democrats "liberal," without qualifiers, the way he and the other Times reporters reflexively label conservative Republicans like Sen. Rick Santorum and Sen. Sam Brownback?