Friday, March 07, 2008

The History of Obama

An interesting piece on Obama's background and meteoric rise by a journalist who covered him back in the days when no one knew Obama's name- even in Chicago. Worth reading it all but a few things stood out for me-

My view of Obama then wasn't all that different from the image he projects now. He was smart, confident, charismatic and liberal. One thing I can say is, I never heard him launch into the preacher-man voice he now employs during speeches. He sounded vanilla, and activists in his mostly black district often chided him for it.

Nothing wrong with cultivating oratory skills but with Obama it seems to be all style and no substance.

When asked about his legislative record, Obama rattles off several bills he sponsored as an Illinois lawmaker...It's a lengthy record filled with core liberal issues. But what's interesting, and almost never discussed, is that he built his entire legislative record in Illinois in a single year.

Seven years in office and he did all his work in one, mainly due to the fact that Republicans shut down anything he proposed before that- so much for him being able to "work across the aisle". When the Republicans were ousted the new Senate Leader, Emil Jones, essentially "created" Obama according to this report.

During his seventh and final year in the state Senate, Obama's stats soared. He sponsored a whopping 26 bills passed into law — including many he now cites in his presidential campaign when attacked as inexperienced.

Bills that, in some cases, had been crafted by other representatives and which Jones made sure were passed to Obama to improve his reputation.

It was a stunning achievement that started him on the path of national politics — and he couldn't have done it without Jones. Before Obama ran for U.S. Senate in 2004, he was virtually unknown even in his own state. Polls showed fewer than 20 percent of Illinois voters had ever heard of Barack Obama.

Jones further helped raise Obama's profile by having him craft legislation addressing the day-to-day tragedies that dominated local news ­headlines.

And what was the result of this you might wonder?

Last June, to prove his commitment to government transparency, Obama released a comprehensive list of his earmark requests for fiscal year 2008. It comprised more than $300 million in pet projects for Illinois, including tens of millions for Jones's Senate district.

Shortly after Jones became Senate president, I remember asking his view on pork-barrel spending.

I'll never forget what he said:

"Some call it pork; I call it steak."

Obama- hope, change- or just the same old game in a more photogenic package? You'd think that the press wouldn't have waited until the 11th hour to find out if their candidate of choice was the real deal as he claimed, or just more of the same?

Read it all.


NotClauswitz said...

Wow, this is Machine Politics at its finest, and as every machininst knows the goal is to produce a tool - and with Obama they certainly have one.

NotClauswitz said...

Blogged it.