Friday, February 22, 2008

Street Smart Obama Has The Experience

As a unadulterated Obama supporter I'm getting sick of the narrative that infers that he lacks the experience to be president. Jack and Jill Politics have compiled a list of Obama accomplishments. It's worth a review and shows that Obama has significant legislative experience both in the Illinois and US Senate.

You should be able to discuss his groundbreaking work to reform the Illinois death penalty
including getting confessions videotaped against the objections of a Republican governor plus police and prosecutors.

You should be able to discuss his groundbreaking work to create easily searchable database of federal spending, the Google for Government, bill.

You should be able to discuss his nuclear non-proliferation law co-sponsored with Republican Dick Lugar.

Whether you support Obama or not, you need to visit Seriously. It is your duty as a citizen to be informed and no one is preventing you. Go to the issues page. Click on any issue (e.g. Civil Rights). This may sound hard, but I want you to read it. Jump to the bottom where it says "Barack Obama's Record" and you'll see
Record of Advocacy: Obama has worked to promote civil rights and fairness in the criminal justice system throughout his career. As a community organizer, Obama helped 150,000 African Americans register to vote. As a civil rights lawyer, Obama litigated employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and voting rights cases. As a State Senator, Obama passed one of the country's first racial profiling laws and helped reform a broken death penalty system. And in the U.S. Senate, Obama has been a leading advocate for protecting the right to vote, helping to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and leading the opposition against discriminatory barriers to voting.

Now go to the Ethics page. And READ IT NOW. You'll find more on his record saying:

  • Federal Ethics Reform: Obama and Senator Feingold (D-WI) took on both parties and proposed ethics legislation that was described as the "gold standard" for reform. It was because of their leadership that ending subsidized corporate jet travel, mandating disclosure of lobbyists' bundling of contributions, and enacting strong new restrictions of lobbyist-sponsored trips became part of the final ethics bill that was signed into law. The Washington Post wrote in an editorial, "The final package is the strongest ethics legislation to emerge from Congress yet."
  • Google for Government: Americans have the right to know how their tax dollars are spent, but that information has been hidden from public view for too long. That's why Barack Obama and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) passed a law to create a Google-like search engine to allow regular people to approximately track federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and loans online. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "It would enable the public to see where federal money goes and how it is spent. It's a brilliant idea."
  • Illinois Reform: In 1998, Obama joined forces with former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon (D-IL) to pass the toughest campaign finance law in Illinois history. The legislation banned the personal use of campaign money by Illinois legislators and banned most gifts from lobbyists. Before the law was passed, one organization ranked Illinois worst among 50 states for its campaign finance regulations.

Now go to the Veteran's page.

Record of Advocacy: As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Obama passed legislation to improve care and slash red tape for our wounded warriors recovering at places like Walter Reed. He passed laws to help homeless veterans and offered an innovative solution to prevent at-risk veterans from falling into homelessness. Obama led a bipartisan effort in the Senate to try to halt the military's unfair practice of discharging service members for having a service-connected psychological injury. He fought for fair treatment of Illinois veterans' claims and forced the VA to conduct an unprecedented outreach campaign to disabled veterans with lower than-average benefits. Obama passed legislation to stop a VA review of closed PTSD casespassed an amendment to ensure that all service members returning from Iraq are properly screened for traumatic brain injuries. He introduced legislation to direct the VA and Pentagon to fix disjointed records systems and improve outreach to members of the National Guard and Reserves.
that could have led to a reduction in veterans' benefits.
Media Matters offers a rebuttal to the Politico's argument claiming Obama's done nothing to affect people's daily lives. It as links to actual bills passed. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote in 2005 about Obama "shuns limelight, builds record" putting to rest this notion that he's been distracted by his presidential bid since arriving in the Senate In "Judge Him By His Laws," The Washington Post's Charles Pierce wrote "People who complain that Barack Obama lacks experience must be unaware of his legislative achievements. One reason these accomplishments are unfamiliar is that the media have not devoted enough attention to Obama's bills and the effort required to pass them, ignoring impressive, hard evidence of his character and ability." Finally, I implore you to check out this dailykos diary, "Yes, Obama has a lot of Substance (now with a graph!)"

You can compare Senator Obama and Senator Clinton on govtrack to get an overview of their success rate in the Senate. But both of them have done a solid amount of work. Most of their efforts never made it out of committee (to be expected in a GOP-controlled Congress).

Obama has more elected experience than Hillary Clinton. He's been accountable to voters for longer. All Obama supporters need to repeat this. It's true, she's been around a long time and has her hands on some great achievements, but her job was rarely at risk. While in the IL legislature, Obama sponsored over 800 bills, with most in healthcare, poverty and crime. Check this NY Times story and graphic.

John McCain. Mr 25 years in the Senate and 100 years in Iraq has surprisingly little to claim in the way of significant achievements. Big up to Matt Yglesias and Carpetbagger.

Thanks again to Jack and Jill Politics for this content.

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