Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"
by dhonig, Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 03:23:10 AM EST
Yes, this is a response diary. But it will be long enough to stand on its own. Every on Daily Kos is going crazy for a diary entitled I Refuse to By Into the Obama Hype. It purports to compare Hillary's Senate record to Obama's and concludes Obama's is superior. Why? Two reasons. First, in the diarist's opinion his bills are better. Second his bills have more sponsors than hers, and that demonstrates "leadership." Excuse me, but, well bullshit. "Leadership" doesn't come from getting people to join you. "Leadership" comes from getting people to FOLLOW you, to DO things. As in, pass laws. Can we look at what they both actually achieved?
(Cross-posted from Daily Kos, so if you want it to have legs there give it a comment and a Recommend. Thanks.)
Neither Senator, to date, sponsored legislation that passed into law in the 110th Congress. However, Clinton sponsored the only legislation between the two that passed both houses, and is awaiting signature. That is Senate Bill 694, passed in the House as H.R. 1216, and is a bill to regulate safety of children around cars. There have been a couple of heartfelt diaries about this one, and it was GREAT work. The score for the 110th Congress? Clinton 1, Obama 0.
Okay, on the 109th Congress.
Clinton bills passed as law:
Personally, I have no opinion on that one, knowing nothing about the Puerto Rican national forest.
This is a good bill. It authorizes grants and other funds to people with adults or children in need of respite care. This includes hospice care, chronically ill, mentally retarded, and developmentally disabled children and adults, and allows people to be cared for in their homes, instead of in other facilities.
Okay, Obama's turn.
It's a good bill. It authorized money to the Republic of Congo, and authorizes withholding of funds in certain circumstances, both from Congo and from nations around it.
That's it for the 109th Congress. Excluding ceremonial statutes, the score seems to be 2-1 for Hillary, a fairly inconsequential difference. Obama's is international, which would seem to cut against the claim that is where he is weakest. Hillary's is domestic, assisting in one of the difficult and tragic times a family can face. Score it however you want.
Now for the 108th Congress. From here out we can only look at Hillary, because Obama wasn't there yet.
The title of this one seems pretty self-explanatory, and this bill is a good thing.
That's it for 108. As the previous diarist noted, it's actually pretty darned hard to get legislation through both Houses.
S.1422 : A bill to provide for the expedited payment of certain benefits for a public safety officer who was killed or suffered a catastrophic injury as a direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty in connection with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Again, self-explanatory, and this was a Senator truly taking care of the heroes and their families in her State.
S.1622 : A bill to extend the period of availability of unemployment assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act in the case of victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
This is another bill to help New Yorkers after 9/11.
S.2496 : A bill to provide for the establishment of investigative teams to assess building performance and emergency response and evacuation procedures in the wake of any building failure that has resulted in substantial loss of life or that posed significant potential of substantial loss of life, and for other purposes.
Again, Clinton showed REAL leadership after 9/11, not just play-acting standing on rubble leadership.
What is the conclusion from this? Well, I'm not really sure. Hillary has certainly been in the Senate longer. There can be little doubt she showed REAL leadership after 9/11, something often talked about but rarely seen. It is also pretty clear that Obama really does have some chops in foreign affairs, at least in Africa, and that Hillary really does have serious chops when it comes to our most vulnerable, children and disabled or dying adults. Beyond that, though, any attempt to compare their legislative record based upon co-sponsors or the words of an act becomes an exercise in partisanship. You might think one bill is better because it seems broader, but its broadness to me shows naivete and an inability to focus legislation sufficiently to get it passed. You might think more sponsors shows "leadership," while I might think it shows weakness and the need for others. Alternatively, I might think it shows a strength, a refusal to back down from principles to make the necessary compromises to get people to join you. STOP! I know you are chomping at the bit to refute that last sentence. If you are, you are missing the point, which is, quite simply, that any such comparisons are, BY DEFINITION, partisan and not, as so many seem to believe, unbiased.
As for bills sponsored but not passed, they both have hundreds, including ceremonial bills. BOTH have ceremonial bills. The diarist in the other diary chose certain bills to compare. I could choose others, and the comparison would go the other way. At least in part, I would question the propriety of using the 110th Congress, rather than the 109th, since both were in full campaign-mode the whole time. But again, that leaks partisanship into the conversation and I am truly trying to avoid that.
Just for fun, here is one such comparison. Do with it what you will. I use it because the previous diarist claimed to be far more impressed with Obama's health care legislation than Clinton's.
Obama sponsored A bill to make grants to carry out activities to prevent the incidence of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among teens in racial or ethnic minority or immigrant communities, and for other purposes. I got two co-sponsors, and provided grants, but just addressed to black and latino teens. Hillary sponsored A bill to expand access to preventive health care services that help reduce unintended pregnancy, reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women's health care. It, too, had two co-sponsors. It was, quite simply, better legislation. It not only addressed pregnancy among ALL teens, it also addressed availability of birth control, assistance in rape emergencies, accuracy in contraceptive information, and equality for women in insurance for prescriptions. Using the same standard as the previous diarist, comprehensiveness of the bill, Clinton's is far superior. Does it matter? Well, no. Neither passed. Maybe Obama's was better, because it was more likely to pass, being better focused. Maybe Clinton's was better because of its breadth. Ultimately, neither one passed, hence neither was demonstrated actual SUCCESS in legislation or leadership. To claim otherwise is to participate in an exercise is partisanship, not an exploration of honesty.
Both Senators have sponsored bills. Both Senators have passed bills. I post this not to attack Obama (and I sincerely hope I have not), but to attempt to inject just a bit of reality into the celebration of Obama that Daily Kos' front page and Recommended Diaries section has become.
And now, watch it scroll away.