Friday, May 23, 2008

Obama's Substantive Record

Barak Obama achieves the Gen X way, not the Boomer way. He works directly with the people affected on problems that can be solved. He is more interested in results than showy fights. His is the generation of Just Do It and Git 'R Done -- not "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

My fellow blogger hilzoy of Obsidian Wings summarized Obama's legislative approach this way:

His bills tend to have the following features: they are good and thoughtful bills that try to solve real problems; they are in general not terribly flashy; and they tend to focus on achieving solutions acceptable to all concerned, not by compromising on principle, but by genuinely trying to craft a solution that everyone can get behind.

Moreover, hilzoy continues, "His legislation is often proposed with Republican co-sponsorship." This is a good thing. This is a way to get legislation actually passed. His work with Sen. Dick Lugar, one of the real statesmen of the Republican Party, on securing loose nuclear weapons is an excellent example of Obama's approach. His work on getting an ethics bill that could actually pass is another. And preparing for avian flu. And regulating genetic testing. And making a federal database of political contributions. Etc, etc.

A legislator's record includes what they did when not in office. When Obama finished his fancy education at Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard Law, he did not just go corporate and cash in. He went to the slums to work with poor people to organize their communities, so that they could make their own lives better. That is about as Gen X (and centrist) a form of giving back as you could name. (And let me be quick to say that Sen. Clinton's service to poor women, and Sen. McCain's military service, when they were done school are equally honorable - a stark contrast with the current president's twenties. And thirties.)

Senator Obama's record as a legislator is a solid roster of working with the other side to achieve worthwhile things. You might oppose what Obama wants to do as president, but it would be unfair and ill-informed to say that he hasn't really done anything.


Anonymous said...

Regardless of his meager record Obama has problems with middle income working people, people bitterly clinging to their guns, God, racist ideas. Does he sound like a uniter to you? He doesn't to me. I looking forward to his debates with McCain.

Anonymous said...

I'm not exactly enthralled with McCain for President, but I fail to see how there's any legitimate ground for Obama to claim on this one... sorry, Gruntled.

First, McCain has not just "worked with," but has actually co-sponsored major legislation with people like Feingold and Kennedy. He is outwardly despised by many conservatives for his willingness to compromise.

Second... and this is an honest question yet admittedly one that is "loaded"... what is the most conservative legislation that Obama can point to that has his fingerprints all over it? Truly, I'm uncertain, though I have a high suspicion that generally one can only find instances of conservatives reaching substantially to the left... not of Obama reaching substantially to the right.

But again... please correct my ignorance if that's so incorrect.

Varatil said...

McCain used to have a great record for bipartisanship. That's why independents liked him. Lately, though, not so much. That is worrisome.

I was not looking for conservative things that Obama worked on, I was looking for achieved things that Obama worked on with conservatives. Avian flu counts for me.

Gruntled said...

Sorry, Varatil is really me.

Anonymous said...

"McCain used to have a great record for bipartisanship. That's why independents liked him. Lately, though, not so much."

McCain-Kennedy? Wasn't that just last summer?

Just depends on how lately "lately" is, I guess?

What's more, McCain's proposal to create a new government bureaucracy to manage his global warming solution is about as big-government-speak as you'll find in this campaign, short of universal health care. He's going to find a lot of affection across the aisle for that one.

Gruntled said...

That was before the primaries.