Tarry for the Nonce

September 12, 2008

Apolitical Reform

Filed under: Uncategorized — lmwalker @ 3:38 pm

The candidate for change is avoiding reform in his home state.

[Barack Obama] ducked a plea Thursday to use his influence to safeguard landmark state legislation barring big government contractors from making campaign contributions . . .

Designed as a response to the “pay-to-play politics” that have flourished under Gov. Blagojevich, the plan would bar firms with more than $50,000 in state contracts from donating to the officeholder in charge of the deals . . .

A top government watchdog group that worked closely with Obama during his Springfield years urged the Illinois senator to intervene at a time he is trying to make his reform credentials a cornerstone of his presidential campaign.

“As a presidential candidate, this is small potatoes. But as Illinois’ U.S. senator, this is a place he could come in and quickly clean up some of the damage and serve his state,” said Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, which has pushed for the donation restrictions for three years.

This is not a surprising thing. Isn’t Obama the same “reformer” who neither authored nor co-authored a single reform bill in either the U.S. Senate or the Illinois Senate? Isn’t Obama the same “reformer” who was unable to take the inordinate leap of voting “yea” or “nay” on over 130 pieces of legislation during his tenure?

At least we know for sure that he’s the same “reformer” who’s taking the high road in this political arena. He’s told us so repeatedly.

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10 Comments »

  1. So it turns out that Obama is even more offensive than previously considered:

    McCain’s severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes.

    Obama chooses to mock this misfortune. Again, taking the high road.

    Comment by laura — September 15, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  2. Do you really believe that Obama’s campaign intended to mock McCain’s disability? What could he possibly have to gain by doing that? And since when did the left and right flip-flop their views about political correctness? This election season has been very bizarre indeed.

    A more honest line of attack against the ad is whether or not it is relevant that a United States senator regularly uses a computer (as far as I am concerned, it is not relevant).

    Comment by Troy — September 16, 2008 @ 10:32 am

  3. Some of the nuances involved in Obama’s IL ethics reforms are fascinating.

    But the “mocking” had to be unintentional, no? “Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.”

    Comment by Kevin — September 16, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

  4. That ad seems pretty tame compared to some of the ads McCain has put out.

    McCain has said he’s trying to become “computer literate”. He’s physically capable; he’s just not really interested.
    http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/07/mccain-says-hes.html

    This isn’t an important issue. The real point of the ad is to make you think he’s out of touch with current times and doesn’t keep up with what’s happening in the world.

    Comment by McBama — September 16, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

  5. So what is an acceptable amount to not vote? 1%? 3%? 9%? 64%
    Do circumstances matter or just numbers?

    Just some numbers: Obama voted present 129 times in the Illinois Senate. McCain has missed over 800 votes in the US Senate.
    A more fair comparison: In the past 3.5 years, McCain has missed 164 more votes than Obama in the US senate. So by the numbers it would seem that McCain really can’t make a decision or just doesn’t care enough to vote. ( One might say McCain can’t make the “inordinate leap”, but then they’d probably be criticized for mocking him. )

    Of course I don’t think this is a valid argument because there is a lot of relevant information missing, but this is how opponents present information. Obama shouldn’t be made fun of for this.

    Comment by McBama — September 16, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

  6. Kevin: I agree that Illinois needs additional ethics reform, but Obama is not a current member of the Illinois legislature.

    I’m still not buying that the keyboard ad is an example of either malice or incompetence. It is a fact that McCain does not use a computer; why is it incompetent to throw that seemingly innocuous fact into a list of reasons why a candidate is “out of touch,” or whatever the ad was supposed to prove? OK, so the purported POW explanation turns out to reveal some insensitivity in the accusation, but malice? incompetence?

    But, back to the point of the original post: Why should Obama waste his time grabbing a local political hot potato — likely involving uncomfortable conversations with major supporters — when it is clear that reform is unlikely to happen in Illinois, and the man is in the smack-dab in the middle of a close race to be president of the United States?!? I don’t understand how this became a Republican talking point.

    Comment by Troy — September 17, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

  7. Troy: According to a Forbes article from 2000:

    “””In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate’s savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. “She’s a whiz on the keyboard, and I’m so laborious,” McCain admits.”””

    If Obama’s campaign knew this and still ran the ad then they would be dishonest and mocking his injuries. If they did not know this (which seems more likely to me) then someone messed up (incompetence) since it actually works against Obama.

    It may be advantageous for Obama to avoid the “hot potato” of IL ethics reform, but doing so also undermines his message of being a reformer and a notch above a typical politician. Even if he would alienate some IL supporters with a phone call in favor of the bill, what are the chances that he would lose IL?

    Comment by Kevin — September 17, 2008 @ 11:22 pm

  8. He voted “present” 135 times out of how many thousands of votes? BTW, voting “present” is effectively the same as voting “no.”

    Comment by Howard — September 18, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

  9. So, is anyone now willing to give Obama credit for convincing Emil Jones to call the Senate back for ethics reform?

    http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2008/09/obama-phone-cal.html

    Comment by Troy — September 19, 2008 @ 7:41 am

  10. Troy: I’ll give Obama credit for making the phone call. It seems like a win-win decision for him. The original article actually seems intended to prod him thus.

    Howard: Is that a preemptive response? 🙂 I’m not sure who you are replying to.

    Comment by Kevin — September 19, 2008 @ 10:13 am


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