Sunday, September 07, 2008

820-427-152: Remember these numbers

From DailyKos:

by StrangeAnimals [Subscribe]
Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:07:15 PM PDT

What the heck are these numbers? If you've not yet seen them, get to know them well. They are the numbers of laws and bills Barack Obama has sponsored or authored in his twelve years as a legislator - eight in the Illinois Senate, and now in his fourth in the U.S. Senate.

In eight years in Illinois, State Senator Obama sponsored 820 bills that became law. The Illinois Times, in a cover story, labeled Obama as "Head Of The Class" for his legislative abundance.

And in just four years as a U.S. Senator, Obama has sponsored 427 bills, and authored 152 bills. For a detailed list, follow the link.

So when you hear or read someone, such as former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska Sarah Palin stating that Obama has not authored "a single major law or even a reform", send them this list:

Co-sponsored with Richard Lugar (R-IN) legislation funding the destruction or securing of "loose" nuclear weapons in other countries. This was a major piece of nonproliferation legislation.

Co-sponsored, again with Lugar, the first federal bill dedicated to pandemic flu preparedness, including vaccine research and antiviral stockpiling, in addition to state and local planning and preparedness measures.

Sponsored a bill regulating genetic testing, which directed the government to develop special proficiency tests for labs that do genetics work.
Co-sponsored, with Hillary Clinton(!), legislation to help hospitals to develop programs for disclosure of medical errors They even co-wrote an article for the New England Journal of Medicine on the subject.

Introduced his "health care for hybrids" bill, an energy security bill, various bills on relief for Hurricane Katrina (including aid for kids and a ban on no-bid contracts by FEMA)

Introduced legislation, which passed, to create a public database of all federal spending and contracts

Introduced legislation trying to raise CAFE standards, i.e. mileage standards for US-produced vehicles

Introduced veteran's health care legislation

Introduced legislation making certain kinds of voter intimidation illegal

Introduced a lobbying reform bill

Introduced legislation to revamps ethics oversight, replacing the present Congressional ethics committee with a bipartisan commission of retired judges and members of Congress, and allowing any citizen to report ethics violations.

Introduced legislation to suspend and repeal certain tax incentives for the oil and gas industry

Introduced a joint resolution clarifying that the use of force against Iran is not authorized by the AUMF Against Iraq, or any other resolution previously adopted

Introduced a bill to provide housing assistance for very low-income veterans

Introduced a bill to amend the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuel sold in the US

Introduced a bill to authorize the National Science Foundation to establish a Climate Change Education Program

Introduced a bill to required accountability for contractors and contract personnel (e.g. Blackwater) under federal contracts

Introduced a bill to require the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the U.S. foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, and the elimination of extreme global poverty.

Yes, a lot of these are wonky, and perhaps unexciting to the average voter, but look at them closely: they are all meaningful. And keep in mind that Senator Obama has only been in Washington for three and a half years.

Here's another way of looking at Senator Obama's record: Of the 15 bills he sponsored or co-sponsored in 2005-7 that became law,

*2 addressed foreign policy (promote relief, security, and democracy in the Congo; and develop democratic institutions in areas under Palestinian control)
*3 addressed public health (improve mine safety; increased breast cancer research funding; reduce preterm delivery and complications, reduce infant mortality)
*2 addressed openness and accountability in government (strengthening the Freedom Of Information Act; full disclosure of all entities receiving federal funds)
*2 addressed national security (extend terrorist risk insurance; amend the Patriot Act)
*1 addressed the needs of the Armed Forces (wave passport fees to visit graves, attend memorials/funerals of veterans abroad)

And of the hundreds of bills Senator Obama introduced during the 109th and 110th Congress:

*25 addressed energy efficiency and climate change
*21 addressed health care
*20 addressed public health
*14 addressed consumer protection/labor
*13 addressed the needs of veterans and of active duty personnel and their families
*12 addressed congressional ethics and accountability
*10 addressed foreign policy
*9 addressed voting/election rights
*7 addressed education
*6 addressed relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina
*5 addressed the environment
*4 addressed discrimination
*4 addressed homeland security

Truth is, Senator Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored a number of pieces of really good legislation, many on topics not wildly sexy, but meaningful nonetheless. His bills tend to be good and thoughtful bills that try to solve real problems. They tend to focus on achieving solutions acceptable to all concerned, not by compromising on principle, but by genuinely crafting solutions everyone can get behind.

His legislation is often proposed with Republican co-sponsorship. Obama tries to find people, both Democrats and Republicans, who actually care enough about a particular issue to try and get policy right, and then he works with them. This does not involve compromising on principle, but rather on getting things done.

So while Obama has not proposed his Cosmic Plan for World Peace, he has proposed a lot of good legislation on important though under-covered topics. He takes a patient, craftsman-like attitude towards legislation, caring just as much about the getting the parts right that no one will notice unless they go wrong as about the flashy parts.

Isn't it time all of Washington worked in this manner?


It's past time, and remember those numbers, so you can spread the truth.


The Angry Independent said...

I'm skeptical of Dailykos postings that don't have good sourcing.

Good sourcing (for me) typically = a major newspaper, a very reputable freelance reporter, Public radio/TV, government website, scholarly research (preferably peer reviewed), reputable eye witness information, police reports, government documents, video/audio evidence, archival information, reputable non-profit organizations that do research, etc....

The original source they use is dubious at best.

A trick of the trade that I try to adhere to -- always check the original source provided....if it isn't a known entity or reputable, or if it doesn't properly cite information, then there are two choices. 1). Confirm the information from the posting by attempting to find it from a better source (this is the kind of thing that keeps me at the computer way too long)...otherwise known as cross-referencing the information you find. or 2). Send it to the cutting room floor and don't use it....or save it and see if you can confirm it later when time permits.

I'm sure he has co-sponsored and authored quite a few Bills... but the numbers here don't match numbers that I have seen elsewhere.

But then again, this could be correct information...i've only glanced at federal numbers.... and my memory could be failing me again. If this is accurate, then great.

I think this is something that Obama needs to do a better job addressing himself. We shouldn't have to... he needs a more aggressive staff..

He should post this information on his own website if he hasn't already. That will make sure the correct information is out there... no chance of getting egg on our faces.

The problem with Kos Diaries is that it's pretty much unregulated territory...with no editing, no citing of info, and anyone can post a Diary.

It's basically a fancy message board... and message boards are not typically good for using as sources for blogging.

Sometimes, however, I will use DKos posts in my own...but only if those posts have sufficient sourcing of info... it has to pass the smell test for me. Otherwise, I leave it alone.

Don't get me wrong... it's a great site...and it has a nice site design. I post there myself... I know you've seen me (it's like the Lions Den over there for me sometimes). But I don't use their reader posts as post topics here too often.... unless they have decent sourcing.

Brown Man said...

Thanks for posting this, Mirror on America (I can't spell your name without paging back, Ms. R) - always good to have something you can sink your teeth into besides rhetoric.

I'm a natural born skeptic, persnickety as hell, who likes his facts nice and crisp myself, but there are some sharp minds at DKos who are information junkies - if this guy was far off on anything, as I've found out myself, he was directed to correct it in a hurry.

Those numbers are for the home team, though - you could pull them straight from the congressional database if you wanted to, but the folks who have decided to believe Gov. Palin don't really care if 2+2=4.

Logic doesn't inflame the heart the way an emotionally laden plea does, especially if its got those big brown eyes delivering it.

Gotta get more folks registered! And more importantly, to the polls WITH THEIR PAPERWORK.

Truthiz said...

I have to say, I've got a lot of problems with DailyKos_and with this posting, in particular, beginning with the sourcing. has issued a response that I find most interesting and On Point_point-after-point-after-point.

They dug into the records (just as I did about one month ago when I researched this very issue) and they produced:

"a true tally of the bills for which Sens. Obama and Clinton were in fact the sole, original sponsors."

FactCheck claims to take:

"no position on which senator deserves credit for the most or best legislation overall."

I'm very familiar with FactCheck and IMO, they do a good job in presenting the "just the facts" in a fair and unbiased way.

What FactCheck results shows is that, as AI also put it, "the numbers do NOT match."

The truth is, Fact Check's results are literally the same as my own results, which, needless to say, are significantly different from what's presented in the DailyKos piece!

See FactCheck results:

Truthiz said...

Ya know, the more I think about this "info" proffered by DailyKos, the angrier I get!

I declare (as my grandmother used to say)!

Left wing radicals are every bit as arrogant, corrupt, and deceptive as reich-wing radicals. Left-wingers are simply a little better as “masking” if you will.

But both factions have absolutely NO respect for intelligent, independent-thinking people!

WHY, pray tell, after almost 2 years of campaigning, would Obama and his surrogates NOT use these impressive numbers_and the legislations related to these numbers_to help make his case to the American people, bolstering his “qualifications” to be President?!

I'm thinkin_because they KNOW better!