Obama Built His Entire Legislative Record in Illinois in a Single Year, And None of it Was His [Reader Post]


In 2000, a young 20-something reporter, Todd Spivak was assigned to cover local Chicago politics. Obama was just a rank-and-file state senator in Illinois.

It was 2000 and I was a young, hungry reporter at the Hyde Park Herald and Lakefront Outlook community newspapers earning $19,000 a year covering politics and crime.

I talked with Obama on a regular basis — a couple times a month, at least. I’d ask him about his campaign-finance reports, legislation he was sponsoring and various local issues. He wrote an occasional column published in our papers. It ran with a headshot that made him look about 14 years old.

These days when Obama is asked on the campaign trail about his legislative accomplishments, he often rattles off several bills he sponsored while in the Illinois state senate. Spivak knows a little about Obama’s career in Illionois and there is a lot less to it than meets the eye.

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.

Republicans controlled the Illinois General Assembly for six years of Obama’s seven-year tenure. Each session, Obama backed legislation that went nowhere; bill after bill died in committee. During those six years, Obama, too, would have had difficulty naming any legislative ­achievements.

Then, in 2002, dissatisfaction with President Bush and Republicans on the national and local levels led to a Democratic sweep of nearly every lever of Illinois state government. For the first time in 26 years, Illinois Democrats controlled the governor’s office as well as both legislative chambers.

The white, race-baiting, hard-right Republican Illinois Senate Majority Leader James “Pate” Philip was replaced by Emil Jones Jr., a gravel-voiced, dark-skinned African-American known for chain-smoking cigarettes on the Senate floor.

Jones had served in the Illinois Legislature for three decades. He represented a district on the Chicago South Side not far from Obama’s. He became Obama’s ­kingmaker.

Several months before Obama announced his U.S. Senate bid, Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city’s most popular black call-in radio ­program.

I called Kelley last week and he recollected the private conversation as follows:

“He said, ‘Cliff, I’m gonna make me a U.S. Senator.'”

“Oh, you are? Who might that be?”

“Barack Obama.”

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 in return for all the king-making efforts by Jones on Obama’s behalf, Obama made sure Jones was repaid handsomely.

So how has Obama repaid Jones?

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.”

Nice. It ain’t pork and it ain’t steak. It is our freakin’ money.

Obama also touts all his “experience” as a community organizer. What that has to do with his qualifications to be president is anyone’s guess. But, nevertheless, turns out he didn’t really do that either.

On the stump, Obama has frequently invoked his experiences as a community organizer on the Chicago South Side in the early 1990s, when he passed on six-figure salary offers at corporate law firms after graduating from Harvard Law School to direct a massive voter-registration drive.

But, as a state senator, Obama evaded leadership on a host of critical community issues, from historic preservation to the rapid demolition of nearby public-housing projects, according to many South Siders.

Harold Lucas, a veteran South Side community organizer who remembers when Obama was “just a big-eared kid fresh out of school,” says he didn’t finally decide to support Obama’s presidential bid until he was actually inside the voting booth on Super Tuesday.

“I’m not happy about the quality of life in my community,” says Lucas, who now heads a black-heritage tourism business in Chicago. “As a local elected official, he had a primary role in that.” [snip]

When the City of Chicago seized the 70-year-old Gerri’s Palm Tavern by eminent domain in 2001, sparking citywide protests, Obama was silent. And he offered no public comments when the 30-year owner of the Checkerboard Lounge was forced to relocate a couple years later.

Even in Hyde Park, Obama declined to take a position on a years-long battle waged by hundreds of local community activists fighting against the city’s plan to replace the historic limestone seawall along Lake Michigan — a popular spot to sunbathe and swim — with concrete steps. [snip]

Obama’s aloofness on key community issues for years frustrated Lucas and many other South Siders. Now they believe he was just afraid of making political enemies or being pigeonholed as a black candidate.

No legislative record. No experience as a community organizer. Obama truly is an empty suit.

Bill Dupray at The Patriot Room

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This is why Obama isn’t running on experience. And from his waffling on key issues like Iran and character questions like Rev. Wright his judgement is clearly questionable.

He shouldn’t be that difficult to beat if McCain is ready to take him on.

Hillary was right: Obama IS the weakest link~!

Even if he wins, the Democrats loose. Remember they got in because they weren’t Republican. That’s how Carter got in too. Without an agenda that they actually back, they are going to end up like fools without anybody to blame.

Obama is all style and no substance, and Todd Spivak’s article proves it. Empty suit is right.

Look at how he constantly brings up the Kennedy-Khrushchev summit to bolster his argument that we should always meet with our enemies. Even the most elementary study of the summit would have showed that Khrushchev beat the tar out of Kennedy at the summit, and since the latter didn’t respond Khrushchev thought him a weakling. This prompted Khrushchev to think he could put nuclear missiles in Cuba and get away with it. In other words, the summit backfired horribly.

But Obama keeps using it as an example. Not only does he have no record, he’s not so smart either.

As I said on another blog, Obama is not an empty suit. He’s an empty pair of boxer shorts with tire tracks on them. He has no substance, no moral values and no hope for change. At the risk of sounding like a braggart, I would make a better president than he. Actually, in retrospect, that’s not saying much.

This “revelation” should be the fait accomplis of the Osama campaign. Of course it won’t because the MSM treats Osama as the Messiah. Today’s latest gaffe, repeatedly calling the town of Sunrise, “Sunshine” is for lack of a better word, a shining example of the media’s duplicity.

Imagine if GWB made the same mistake, the media would have a field day. The headlines in the NYT’s would read “Chimpy doesn’t know where he is”, or “Bush’s Blunders”. I seem to recall, how the media constantly questions Bush’s academic record, yet the Harvard trained Osama gets a pass when he misspeaks. Whether it is 57 states or “Sunshine”, in the media’s eyes, Osama can do no wrong.

Who can forget Dan Quayle’s lambasting after misspelling “potato”? The guy was roasted for his entire public career over one gaffe. Yet, the law review lightweight Osama is excused at every turn. Disgusting.

If I remember my Chicagoland geography correctly, Hyde Park isn’t exactly Chicago’s South Side. And, Hyde Park isn’t exactly the projects either.

My question, though, is why didn’t those Democratic legislators object having their legislative initiatives taken away? What was the payoff (or threat)?

Jones may have “made a senator”, but it’s the MSM which will be able to take credit for the creation of a president if the worst should happen and the American people put an ignorant, incompetent Marxist in the White House. A true disgrace in the making, but no ones fault but ours as citizens and voters, if it should occur.