Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

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:

S.272 : A bill to designate certain National Forest System land in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Personally, I have no opinion on that one, knowing nothing about the Puerto Rican national forest.

S.1283 : A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a program to assist family caregivers in accessing affordable and high-quality respite care, and for other purposes.

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.

S.2125 : A bill to promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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.  

S.1425 : A bill to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to reauthorize the New York City Watershed Protection Program.

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.

107th Congress

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.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, legislation (all tags)

Comments

31 Comments

Proportionality. It knows no bounds....

with Obamaphiles.

Next they will be counting words to prove some bogus point.

Thanks for the reality check!

by Shazone 2008-02-21 04:10AM | 0 recs
Silly me, I forgot that "Words Count"...

with Obama - unless, of course, those words come out of Michelle or Deval Patrick, or Denzel Washington or John Edwards mouths first.

by Shazone 2008-02-21 04:11AM | 0 recs
And silly me...

To think that words are nice, but are not enough. Words only become effective when they're matched with ACTION. And yes, Hillary's proven that she's effective because she matches her words with real ACTIONS. I hope Obama can learn to do more of that.

by atdleft 2008-02-21 04:37AM | 0 recs
Re: And silly me...

Love your sig! =)

History and Hillary go well together. As a matter of fact, they're synonymous.

Obama/Sebelius '08

(Hillary for Senate Majority Leader... maybe)

by VT COnQuest 2008-02-21 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

A reality check.  Much needed.  Thanks

by FarWest 2008-02-21 04:29AM | 0 recs
And hopefully here at MyDD...

This reality check won't just scroll away. Last I checked, we're still grounded in reality here. ;-)

by atdleft 2008-02-21 04:34AM | 0 recs
I recd & tipped you over

at the Navel-Gazing Orange Juice place.

by votermom 2008-02-21 05:06AM | 0 recs
Wow, you're brave...

I guess I've become too comfortable here in a community that actually is based in reality. But hey, at least folks here appreciate real facts from straight shooters like dhonig. :-)

by atdleft 2008-02-21 05:48AM | 0 recs
I just followed the

link. Didn't click on any diary that looked remotely  about candidates.

by votermom 2008-02-21 06:13AM | 0 recs
Re: I recd & tipped you over

I did too.

by splashy 2008-02-21 08:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

I don't think what you've pointed out really ablates the point of the original diary, which is that Obama is an accomplished legislator who has a great track record of sponsoring legislation and getting co-sponsors, and has had a fair amount of legislative success attaching his agenda to existing legislation. He accomplished a lot by attaching amendments to other legislation. I counted 18 amendments he successfully attached to Hillary's 7.

I don't think the original diary is intended to be a knock on Hillary's legislative accomplishments, but rather to point out that Obama is not merely an accomplished speaker; he is an accomplished legislator, and his record bears that out.

by mattw 2008-02-21 05:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

Except it did not do only that.  It also belittled Clinton's accomplishments at every turn.

by dhonig 2008-02-21 05:24AM | 0 recs
Not how I read it

Perhaps we took different things away. The gist I got that Clinton was an accomplished legislator, with a strong focus on Kids and Health issues. Obama was also very accomplished. Clinton proposed more bills (especially health bills), and Obama spent more time on Amendments to other legislation, and because of the amendment tilt, got more of his measures enacted. (Although passing an amendment != passing the bill it was attached to)

I do agree that since Hillary has tried hard to portray Obama as being words without substance, this hurts her talking points, but I don't think it impinges upon her legislative history.

by mattw 2008-02-21 06:48AM | 0 recs
Dude

You may be, and I mean this kindly, a little hyper-sensitive these days.  There's nothing wrong with a supporter attempting to counter what they feel is the argument of the opponent.  

Still plenty of time to jump on board the bus.  

by Cycloptichorn 2008-02-21 07:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"
Surely you jest!
Obamabots jump on any perceived negativity about the Clintons because "beat the Bitch" is Obama's theme song.
Some Obamabots diary titles are very Fox News-esque.
There are very FEW diaries about Obama's positions and voting record but MANY diaries exalting THE ONE.
by annefrank 2008-02-21 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

Are you saying you think the dkos diary referenced was written by an "Obamabot"?  You're complaining because there are few diaries about Obama's positions, but the dKos diary that started this off was an extensive comparison of Obama vs Clinton legislative accomplishments. I thought it was analytical and respectful. (Obamabot is not. I'm a very smart, thoughtful person who cares a lot about the party, the country, and the race, and your sig is implying that I'm a Bushie, when Bush's terms turn my stomach on a hundred levels. It's very unkind.)

by mattw 2008-02-21 12:13PM | 0 recs
Kind of like Jr High

I love the name calling.  I do not know annefrank and have not bothered to research anyone's comment history, but I'm willing to bet that annefrank would get all up in an uproar were you to call any Clinton supporter, even the rabid name-calling ones "the new Bushies."

Everyone needs to settle down a bit.

And cutesy sig lines insulting 1/2 of the democrats out there are not productive no matter how snarky or superior they make one feel.

The more mature ones are those who try to avoid all of that stuff.

by Robert in WV 2008-02-21 02:38PM | 0 recs
It's very easy to beef up the records

when people are receptive to spice it up for him.

by JoeySky18 2008-02-21 05:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

Both candidates are incrementalists who have relied heavily on corporate sponsorship and "legitimization" to get this far in the nomination process.

It shocks me how much the Obama partisans are willing to ignore that fact, and conflate Hillary with The Establishment, as though it is some spectral force supporting her and he is fighting against it.

Barack Obama is not fighting against "The Establishment" whatever that is. He is just as ensconced in it as she is.

Our job was to push them both away from that; we haven't. We've surrendered before we got on the battlefield and offered ourselves up as servants.

I think Markos' puerile revenge fantasy has a lot to do with that.

by chicagolife 2008-02-21 05:47AM | 0 recs
At least

If HRC wins, it will be by appealing to the base and running left, which she has done since Edwards quite. (Which I'm still broken up about.)
She'll owe the base, and she'll know that it's mostly because of UHC that she won.

If BO wins it's the opposite. He'll credit his wings to independents & moderates. He'll say it's a mandate for having no health care mandates.

by votermom 2008-02-21 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: At least

This is the argument I've been making, more or less, to my fellows in the labor movement since 2004. Barack owes as much to Facebook as he does to labor. The corporate media adores him, and if they start to break him down, I fear that his support will completely unravel.

All they have to do is yawn at his speech once and people watching on tv will start turning the channel.

Still, I think he'll beat McCain. But the consensus and mandate he's pitching as his raison d'etre will dissipate, and will we end up with a second Jimmy Carter?

by chicagolife 2008-02-21 06:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

Both candidates are incrementalists who have relied heavily on corporate sponsorship and "legitimization" to get this far in the nomination process.

It shocks me how much the Obama partisans are willing to ignore that fact, and conflate Hillary with The Establishment, as though it is some spectral force supporting her and he is fighting against it.

It's a local thing for many -- in Connecticut, for example, the Lieberman-supporting apparatus (all of the big name "Dems for Joe" as well as those that undermined Lamont quietly post-primary) queued up for Clinton, while Ned Lamont and the reformers in the state got behind Obama.

I was a Dodd supporter until he dropped out, but got behind Obama on 2/5 because I wanted to empower the more aggressively ideological and reformist elements within the party.

I don't think the "establishment" thing has very much to do with the candidates, but as political people, we all care who candidates choose to surround themselves with. Even now, Lanny Davis is going on TV talking up Clinton! Brr.

I'm fine with Hillary in general, but I sure enjoyed watching her people lose locally.

by scvmws 2008-02-21 06:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

Also (replying to my own stuff, ahem) the proponents of single-payer in state got behind Obama, and those who constantly undermine and kill universal healthcare bills in our state legislature got behind Clinton.

As a result, all this static over the difference between their plans has bounced off of me (and a lot of the activist community) because people who care about universal healthcare would have to swallow hard before climbing into a boat with the regressive elements in the Clinton campaign for any reason. I imagine this is playing out to some degree everywhere.

by scvmws 2008-02-21 06:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

Thanks for the diary. And, time and time again Obama hasn't shown any of the unity movement he claims to lead. No unity on Iraq funding with timetables for withdrawal,...boy, it would've been nice if he worked his magic for one of those bills that came through the senate. If he led his republican friends  so that we could get one of those bills passed. If he'd done that...heck, even I'd be a believer.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-21 06:05AM | 0 recs
Good Diary

I think this is a pretty fair assesment of what both candidates have done.  However, I do feel, regardless of how you feel it may have been framed, that the original diary over at Kos was a reaction to that Texas State Senator being ripped by Chris Matthews for not knowing even one legislative accomplishment by the candidate that he supports.

I, an Obama supporter, was really embarrassed by that display by a supporter who's also an elected official.  Over at Kos there has been a push to make sure people actually know the specifics of Obama's record.  Unfortunately, I feel it's the wrong audience, because, generally, people that read these types of sites already know what the candidates have and haven't done.

by shalca 2008-02-21 06:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

Again, Clinton showed REAL leadership after 9/11, not just play-acting standing on rubble leadership.

She voted for the war, and still thinks it was the right thing to do.

Ready on day one.

by scvmws 2008-02-21 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

She never voted for war and her position is much more complex and nuanced than you imply here.

This my problem. Substance and facts of all kinds is being left by the wayside.

by americanincanada 2008-02-21 06:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

no, it's not.  Her EXCUSES have been complex and nuanced.  The vote was straight-forward and ill-advised.  And now it's coming back to haunt her.

by Cycloptichorn 2008-02-21 07:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Hype? Let's talk about "Hype"

She voted for the war, along with most of the Senate -- and they knew it at the time.  How could they have not when millions of people around the world knew it?  (Including most of us.)

The Senators who stood up to the Bush propaganda machine were few.  My support of John Edwards was partly due to his admitting that 1) they voted for the war and 2) that it was a mistake.  

That Hillary Clinton won't do the same for whatever reason makes me question her.

Obama wasn't there and opposed the war where he was at the time.  I'd rather be voting for one of the Senators who opposed the war, but I'll settle for someone who knows the vote was a mistake.

by mijita 2008-02-21 08:25AM | 0 recs
Post this on kos.

I know that is tantamount to mayhem - but this is good and it should be taken to the belly of the kos-beast!

by Molee 2008-02-21 06:40AM | 0 recs
Re: They would NEVER put it on Recommended

In all fairness to Daily Kos, The Absurdity of Daily Obama spent a whole day on the Rec list and got over 1,000 comments.

by dhonig 2008-02-21 10:48AM | 0 recs

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