Obama Wins Another Primary

Obama won the Americans Abroad primary 66% to 33%. There are seven delegates, which are divided up among fourteen people each with one-half a vote. Obama won 2.5 delegates, Clinton receives 2, and the rest of the delegation will be chosen at a convention in April. If we include this vote, along with the Virgin Islands, Obama has now won twelve primaries or caucuses in a row.

Clinton’s Experience Claims Debunked by Congressional Quarterly

One reason that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been unsuccessful is that she has failed to provide a compelling reason for many of us to vote for her. Initially Clinton’s campaign was based upon her being the inevitable winner, but that collapsed when she lost the Iowa caucus. She also claims experience as a reason to vote for her, but that argument doesn’t hold up very well either. Congressional Quarterly evaluated her claims and found they were untrue. First they reviewed her claims:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton often boasts that she has a long resume — 35 years long, to be precise.

“I have 35 years’ experience making change,” she said in a TV ad.

“I’ve gotten up for 35 years every day and tried to figure out what I could do to help somebody else,” she said in a TV interview.

Asked about the difference between her and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama , she replied, “Well, about 35 years of experience.”

She has used the phrase “35 years” in at least 55 speeches, debates and interviews since 2004, according to our search of a public statements database maintained by Project Vote Smart. So it’s no surprise that a Google search of “Hillary Clinton” and “35 years” yields 515,000 hits.

Next they determined if her claims were true:

In simple terms, any experience counts as experience, but it’s clear from the context of Clinton’s remarks that she’s speaking about public policy experience, so that’s how we have focused our examination. We’ll start with the math.

Clinton is 60, so if we assume that her 35 years were consecutive, they would have begun in 1973 when she graduated from Yale Law School at age 25. That year she joined the Children’s Defense Fund, an advocacy group for children.

But her math was way off when she claimed the difference with Obama is “35 years of experience.” By our count, Obama, who is 14 years younger than Clinton, has three years of experience as a community organizer, four years as a full-time attorney handling voting rights, employment and housing cases, and 11 years in the Illinois Senate and U.S. Senate. That’s a total of 18 years. So the difference between Clinton and Obama is really 17 years. We rate her claim False.

Has Clinton really awakened every morning for 35 years and “tried to figure out what I could do to help somebody else,” as she claims? We can’t read the senator’s mind, so this one’s not verifiable. If she’s like us, our first thought every morning is about coffee, not helping mankind.

Clinton has some experience during the past thirty-five years but it is hardly sufficient to consider her more qualified to be president. Often the experience consisted of assignment to part times posts while she was primarily working in corporate law. This included sitting on the board of Wal-Mart as they fought unions. Her years as first lady are of some value, but again are hardly sufficient to qualify her to be president. I’ve previously noted reports that Clinton did not have national security clearance as first lady. Her major action as first lady was on health care, which didn’t turn out very well. In contrast, Obama was successful in his efforts at expanding health care in Illinois. It is also notable that, although she is running on her experience, she is keeping the records from her years as first lady secret until after the election.

If we are to count every year since graduation from law school, Clinton does have more years with some experience. What is more important is the type of experience and what was done with it. While Clinton’s experience was frequently based upon seeking government solutions to problems, Obama was involved as a community organizer. This might partially explain why Clinton concentrates on imposing government solutions for problems while Obama also considers ways in which people can help themselves.

While Clinton was practicing corporate law, Obama was teaching Constitutional law. This has had an impact in his strong support for separation of church and state and the differences in their views on presidential power and executive privilege as Clinton supports decreased transparency and would be more likely to continue, and I fear abuse, the powers taken by George Bush.

I’ve noted Obama’s legislative record in another post this morning. In contrast, Clinton has supported the Iraq war, voted for Kyl-Lieberman, opposed needle exchange programs, favored strict sentences for drug use (while Obama has favored retroactive changes), supported legislation to ban flag burning, supported censorship of video games, and opposed the banning of cluster bombs. These are just some of the areas where I feel Clinton was wrong and Obama was right. Clinton’s experience certainly does not mean having better judgment on the issues

Cross posted at The Carpetbagger Report

Obama’s Legislative Record

The usual assortment of pro-Clinton blogs are making a big deal about an interview in which Texas State Senator Kirk Watson did a poor job of answering a question from Chis Matthews on Obama’s record. Again this shows their propensity to disregard the truth. A surrogate’s inability to answer a question on Obama’s legislative record might reflect poorly upon the surrogate’s ability to act as a surrogate for the campaign, but it says nothing about Obama’s actual record. In the future campaigns might consider briefing surrogates on such matters before an interview.

Sometimes it is a matter of having difficulty answering a question under the pressures of being on television. Watson has a blog post in which he tries to correct his earlier answer:

On Tuesday night, after an important and historic victory in the Wisconsin Presidential Primary by Senator Barack Obama, I appeared on the MSNBC post-election program. “Hardball” host Chris Matthews (who is, it turns out, as ferocious as they say), began grilling me on Senator Obama’s legislative record.

And my mind went blank. I expected to be asked about the primary that night, or the big one coming up in Texas on March 4, or just about anything else in the news. When the subject changed so emphatically, I reached for information that millions of my fellow Obama supporters could recite by heart, and I couldn’t summon it.

My most unfortunate gaffe is not, in any way, a comment on Senator Obama, his substantial record, or the great opportunity we all share to elect him President of the United States.

Had I not lost my mind, here are the accomplishments I would have mentioned:

  • Senator Obama’s fight for universal children’s health care in Illinois.
  • His success bringing Republicans and Democrats together (a huge selling point for me in general) on bills such as the one in Illinois requiring police interrogations and confessions to be videotaped.
  • His leadership on ethics reform in Washington (the bill that lobbyists and special interests are complaining about right now has his name on it).
  • His bill to make the federal budget far more transparent and accessible to Americans via the Internet – we could use that openness in Texas.
  • And his vital work with Republicans to lock down nuclear weapons around the world.

Of course, it would have helped to remember all of this last night. I encourage anyone who wants to know more (especially Mr. Matthews) to log onto texas.barackobama.com.

In the meantime, let’s not lose focus on what’s important in this election. It’s not my stunning televised defeat in “Stump the Chump.” Thankfully, it has nothing at all to do with me.

What’s important is the direction our country is headed. What’s important are the priorities, methods, and, yes, accomplishments of those seeking the highest office in the country.

Senator Obama has a vision for this nation, and we would be fortunate to fulfill it. He has the commitment to work with everyone from across the political and demographic spectrum to achieve it. And he has the strength to defend us, our security, and our values against all who will challenge them.

But most of all, he has the record to prove that all of this is possible. It’s something no one should forget.

. . . Even though I did.

. . . On national television.

I’ve noted elements of Obama’s legislative record in previous posts. Hilzoy had an excellent post not long ago: