Define Obama’s ‘accomplishments’

Editor:

Adam Smedberg of Portland responded in the Oct. 1 issue to my letter to the editor of Sept. 17. In that letter, I stated that when you Google Barak Obama’s accomplishments while in the 110th Congress, you find nothing (of substance). I stand by that statement even though a little spin from Mr. Smedberg may make one think otherwise.

As we all know, a “co-sponsor” of a bill is congressional speak for getting someone to agree with your position. My statement that Obama has nothing of substance to show for his tenure in the Senate goes like this: According to http://www.govtrak.us/congress in the 110th Congress, Barak Obama has sponsored (that means that he authored and was the chief advocate of the proposed legislation) 70 bills. Three of them failed to make it to committee, 63 failed to make it out of committee and five of them passed the Senate. The five that passed the Senate were all resolutions.

Resolutions, of course, are not laws; they are mostly statements of recognition read into the Congressional Record. These included such critical legislation as (1) a resolution commemorating Irena Sendler, (2) a resolution condemning the Zimbabwe government, (3) a resolution commemorating the 44th anniversary of the deaths of four civil rights workers, (4) a resolution designating July 12, 2007 as “National Summer Learning Day” and (5) a resolution celebrating the life of Bishop Patterson.

Now some may consider these “considerable accomplishments” but I don’t. Further, Obama missed 24 percent of the votes in the 110th Congress. His record in the 109th Congress was equally impressive. He sponsored 66 pieces of legislation and two became law. Guess what? They were also resolutions: (1) a resolution congratulating the Chicago White Sox on winning the 2005 Championship and (2) a resolution commemorating the historical significance of “Juneteenth Independence Day.” You may have to look that one up for yourselves if you don’t live in Texas.

Mr. Smedberg suggests that because Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored 570 bills (619 is the number, according to govtrak.com) or amendments to another bill, the fact that 15 bills have become law is a significant accomplishment. Knowing that all but two of these were resolutions recognizing someone or some event doesn’t qualify as substantive in my estimation.

So let’s recap. Since 2005 Obama has sponsored 136 pieces of legislation of which seven became law and every one of which were nothing more than resolutions. He co-sponsored 483 other pieces of legislation (or amendments to intended legislation) of which only eight became law.

All were resolutions except two and he was not the sponsor on either of them – can you name even one of them? He has never sponsored a serious piece of legislation that made it out of committee. And this guy is ready to become president? He can’t even get his own majority party to back him more than 3 percent of the time. If any of that qualifies as accomplishment, I stand corrected.

Mr. Smedberg suggests that my opinion piece was biased and not a critical comparison of the Democrats’ presidential candidate and the Republicans’ vice-presidential candidate.

I was, indeed, biased. It was not meant to be a critical comparison of the two candidates – they are not running for the same office. It was meant to illuminate the substantive differences of the two candidates and the near complete lack of substance of the Democrat’s presidential candidate in spite of the fact they aren’t competing for the same office.

The Democrats have any number of better-qualified candidates. Pity none of them have the oratorical ability of Obama.

Rich Black

Sweet Home

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