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Obama in the Illinois legislature: results

Charles Peters, writing in the Washington Post on Friday, January 4th:

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. [...]

Consider a bill into which Obama clearly put his heart and soul. The problem he wanted to address was that too many confessions, rather than being voluntary, were coerced -- by beating the daylights out of the accused.

Obama proposed requiring that interrogations and confessions be videotaped.

This seemed likely to stop the beatings, but the bill itself aroused immediate opposition. [...]

Obama proved persuasive enough that the bill passed both houses of the legislature, the Senate by an incredible 35 to 0. Then he talked [Governor Rod] Blagojevich into signing the bill, making Illinois the first state to require such videotaping.

Obama didn't stop there. He played a major role in passing many other bills, including the state's first earned-income tax credit to help the working poor and the first ethics and campaign finance law in 25 years (a law a Post story said made Illinois "one of the best in the nation on campaign finance disclosure").

A solid progressive record in the Illinois Senate for Obama. The claims of "not enough experience" go right out the window when you look at Obama's record. Not that the experience ploy has worked anyway...



Obama has no experience redistributing America's wealth to Halliburton and Bechtel. He has no experience launching faith-based wars for profit. He has never had the experience of appointing an Attorney General who had recently lost an election to a dead man. He has no experience taking month-long vacations after being told that terrorists were planning a major strike. He hasn't had the experience of flying over a flooded New Orleans in the comfort of Air Force One. He has no experience...

the first ethics and campaign finance law in 25 years

Thank goodness there's no more corruption in Illinois elections, ha ha.

ehh, so Obama is good at getting in front of the parade like that scene at the end of Animal House where the frat boy hijacks the marching band. The truth is that Illinois has had an atrocious record for years on prosecutorial misconduct and political corruption such that Obama likely found fertile ground for his initiatives. Not exactly swimming upstream.

But for all the hype, I think he's just another middle of the road Democrat, no one raises the war chest he has without assistance from the lobbyist community. So what if a lobbyist can't contribute that max of $2000 or whatever it is now. The real impact is through bundling hundreds of those maximum contributions.

And Edwards...?

Just a few more years in the Senate than Obama. Thinks "poverty" is an issue Americans actually want to hear about. Is fond of theatrical gestures like telling toddlers "I'm gonna save your Daddy's job" (number one, don't make promises you can't keep; number two, he's a fucking kid--don't scare him just so you can look like the people's champ). And in the 2004 debate Cheney batted him around like a kitten with a ball of yarn, and actually elicited sympathy (for Cheney!) when Edwards, with the kind of self-serving theatrical poor taste only a trial lawyer can summon, tried to make Cheney's gay daughter a national issue.

If Edwards somehow manages to outmanuever Hill and Barack and then somehow convince Americans through his tired class warfare rhetoric he's better than Giuliani or McCain or Mitt, and becomes president, I'd consider it a miracle.

Some Americans do want to hear about poverty, namely those who are poor or are one bad experience with shitty medical insurance away from declaring bankruptcy (whoops, can you even file for bankruptcy anymore? thanks Sen. Obama!) and falling into poverty.

The fact is that those most likely to live in poverty in America are children while the group least likely to live so are the elderly, thanks to Social Security, which was cursed as class warfare once upon a time.

The fact is that the political class has been engaged in class warfare upon the lower classes in America for the past 25 years. Say it ain't so, say you, say me, say it for always, thats the way it should be... holy fuck, somehow i lapsed into channeling Lionel Richie again, out cursed demon, out I sayeth, afflict me no longer.

Class warfare pays off politically and economically. It did for the Republicans and now it will for the Democrats if they have the guts to do so.


I never understood it when Greenspan said that the incredible resilience of the American economy was due to consumer spending but then he and Bush kept on trying to promote tax cuts for businesses and the rich, who are not going to invest unless they think consumers will buy or will just not spend it. Can anyone explain that to me?

Obama - Don't Believe the Hype

ps Kerry brought up Dick's big ol dyke of a daughter too, so clearly it was a calculated attempt by the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and not something that can be attributed solely to Edwards.

pss numerous polls have shown that Edwards would beat every Republican candidate if he were the Democratic candidate.


'pss numerous polls have shown that Edwards would beat every Republican candidate if he were the Democratic candidate."

...and yet, he couldn't carry his own state in 2004.

I like Edwards and supported him in the primaries in 2004, but Obama is my man this time around. I won't get into Democrat bashing in support of him but I will say that Edwards isn't even a likely candidate for VP anymore.

Andrew, darn you, "I had a dream...I had an AWESOME dreeeaaamm..."

Edwards has a great story, he is smart enough to stay upbeat, and I do believe he'd go after the corporations. I just don't think he can win. Poverty doesn't win elections (do poor people vote?) and class warfare is as Old Hat as Sharpton-esque race-baiting. This language does not ring true to the voting public anymore. Football teams use to rely on the meat & potatoes run, but now it's all about the aerial attack--doesn't mean they don't still need the run, but they need new game plans. If Edwards's rhetoric was more saavy, I'd believe in him, too.

What the GOP has done so incredibly well over the last 25 years is not govern, but win elections. They have a very sturdy platform; socialism, the effects of a Nanny state--given the American independent spirit, these are easy things to rebut. The democrats have failed to keep up. Substantively, they're nearly always better--but to all appearances, they are in disarray; simply put, they can only get elected when Republicans screw up.

If Edwards represents "old guard" politics, Hillary may have gone too centrist too soon, in an attempt to appear tough (and I believe she is tough). It is Obama who has Bill's genius for sounding as though he is dismissing the old ways of the party while retaining it's ideological heart.

I appreciate Andrew's grasp of issues and process--this is someone you want working on your campaign. But I submit these things are merely the flotsam and jetsom of political life, important to individuals they affect, but not quite as important to the voting public as you'd like to think. We're picking thoroughbreds, here, and I think we have some decent choices.

Thanks for the shout out. I agree we have excellent choices this year and that most people don't give a shit about politics and also that the dems are world class fuckups who would make the Bad News Bears look like tiny-testicled major league sluggers in comparison (excluding tatum o'neal of course - but not because she doesn't have testicles but because she was a ringer). People are too worried about losing their house to care about politics. I saw a mention of a poll where a majority of "likely voters" and not the general population thought that the presidential election was either annoying or a waste of time. But that's the thing, as more people lose their house, they will become poorer people and they will vote. The middle class is disappearing.

It seems we are in the midst of two societal shifts, one, people are finally getting sick of the baby boomers and their cultural politics, and two, we've arrived at a point similar to the 1890s-1920s, where capitalism had free sway and workers were exploited, driving economic inequality to record heights. Just because we're moving on from social conflicts doesn't mean we're doing the same on economic ones. Keep your eye on the ball.

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