Sunday, March 09, 2008

Obama's state legislative record--he got a lot of help

We all know that Barack Obama's US Senate accomplishments--just one bill passed--is nothing the junior senator from my state can't brag about.

But Obama's record in the Illinois State Senate is something the Cult of Change leader likes to tout.

But were they his accomplishments?

Todd Spivak, who was a reporter for two small South Side Chicago community papers during Obama's stint representing the 13th District, is someone who knew Obama when, all things considered, he was a nobody.

Writing now for the Houston Press, Spivak recalls that Emil Jones, president of the State Senate, was Obama's starmaker.

Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

"I took all the beatings and insults and endured all the racist comments over the years from nasty Republican committee chairmen," State Senator Rickey Hendon, the original sponsor of landmark racial profiling and videotaped confession legislation yanked away by Jones and given to Obama, complained to me at the time. "Barack didn't have to endure any of it, yet, in the end, he got all the credit.

"I don't consider it bill jacking," Hendon told me. "But no one wants to carry the ball 99 yards all the way to the one-yard line, and then give it to the halfback who gets all the credit and the stats in the record book."

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.

And without Jones, Spivak reason, it couldn't have happened.

Perhaps Emil Jones should be running for president?

Spivak attempted to contact Obama for his story. But the man who has time for Us Magazine now has no use for a reporter who covered him when he needed exposure.

His entire article is worth reading.

Hat tip to Cal Skinner of the McHenry County Blog.

Related post:

Obama: Time for "Us," but no time for Rezko

Thanks for the link:

UnCorrelated

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14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am reading this report after seeing information pertaining to the Rezko trial. Rezko was a major campaign contributor to Emil Jones, the Illinois Senate President, who unfairly gave Obama preference over other lawmakers. Emil Jones is also the one who people quote when referring to Obama's "success" in the State Senate. It appears that Rezko bought influence for his protege, Obama, and now Obama is taking credit for bills that he did limited work on and for which others should be receiving credit. So, it appears that people's words aren't the only thing Obama plagiarizes...

John Ruberry said...

Well put.

Wyatt McIntyre said...

Terrific article. I hadn't read this one before but I am glad I stumbled across this. Thanks for posting it.

John Ruberry said...

Tks, Wyatt!

ockraz said...

Does anyone know if Hendon is trying to 'walk back' his criticisms of Obama on this sort of thing since Obama got the nom? He might want to in order to protect himself. On the other hand, the New Yorker proposed that they once almost came to blows on the floor of the state senate.

Also, the following seems to be consistant with the narrative about Obama and Jones...

"State Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, laughingly accuses Jones of a little "bill-jacking" - taking issues that other senators had been working on and giving them to Obama. Trotter, for instance, said he had hoped to be named chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee but the job went to Obama instead." [ASSOCIATED PRESS]

ockraz said...

Given all the attention given to Palin's lack of experience lately, I don't understand why the Jones-Obama nexus as a form of political kingmaking doesn't get more national attention. Especially given troubling comments like...

"He said to me, 'You're now the Senate president,' " Mr. Jones recalled. " 'You have a lot of power.' I said, 'I do?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Tell me what kind of power I have.' He said, 'You have the power to make a U.S. senator.' I said, 'I do?' He said, 'You do.' I said, 'If I've got that kind of power, do you know of anyone that I can make?' He said, 'Yeah. Me.' "[NEW YORK TIMES]"

Cobra said...

The article says:

>>>""I took all the beatings and insults and endured all the racist comments over the years from nasty Republican committee chairmen," State Senator Rickey Hendon, the original sponsor of landmark racial profiling and videotaped confession legislation yanked away by Jones and given to Obama, complained to me at the time. "Barack didn't have to endure any of it, yet, in the end, he got all the credit."

Interesting to observe a couple of things about this.

If we are to believe Rickey Hendon...

1. The Illinois State Legislature is full of vicious, racist white Republican committee chairmen.

2. Barack Obama is an extremely talented, charisma politician who can cross party lines to get things done, because--

That very bill in question, Barack Obama pushed through the State Legislature UNANIMOUSLY, and even got the Governor, who originally opposed it, to sign off on it. That would include those "vicious, racist white Republican committee chairmen" that Hendon described.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/03/AR2008010303303.html

Now, I'm sure that there is a contingent of right wingers who don't see a need for any bill in the face of the police torture of mostly African-American citizens.
It's Bushamerica, right? Anything short of loss of life, limb or organ failure is fair game to conservatives, I guess.

--Cobra

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