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View Diary: New York Times Distorts Obama's U of Chicago Years (76 comments)

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  •  Well, usually to qualify as an intellectual (0+ / 0-)

    at least in the law school setting, one needs to publish.  And that is precisely what NYT is criticizing Obama for NOT doing.  How exactly is this a slam on intellectuals?

    •  This is where the criticism of his "thinness" (0+ / 0-)

      is valid. Lack of publishing. Lack of hearings in his sub committee. Lack of time spent with a solid legislative trail in elected capacity. And from what I read in the New Yorker piece, when he was rising and aiming toward his next move, the US Senate, he was aided in the Illinois state senate to take most of the credit for passing legislation that others had been grinding away at for a while. He was the star who would take it into the limelight.

      Here: Making it

      In the State Senate, Jones did something even more important for Obama. He pushed him forward as the key sponsor of some of the Party’s most important legislation, even though the move did not sit well with some colleagues who had plugged away in the minority on bills that Obama now championed as part of the majority. “Because he had been in the minority, Barack didn’t have a legislative record to run on, and there was a buildup of all these great ideas that the Republicans kept in the rules committee when they were in the majority,” Burns said. “Jones basically gave Obama the space to do what Obama wanted to do. Emil made it clear to people that it would be good for them.” Burns, who at that point was working for Jones, was assigned to keep an eye on Obama’s floor votes, which, because he was a Senate candidate, would be under closer scrutiny. The Obama-Jones alliance worked. In one year, 2003, Obama passed much of the legislation, including bills on racial profiling, death-penalty reform, and expanded health insurance for children, that he highlighted in his Senate campaign.

      Perhaps, despite his obvious talents - networker extraordiare, bright, articulate (yes, we can use that word, still!) it is not beyond the pale to suggest that he does have some weaknesses. It might even be to our benefit.

      Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

      by NYCee on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:41:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He dpes have weaknesses but I am not sure (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mayim

        taking "most of the credit for passing legislation that others had been grinding away at for a while" is one of them.
        What I say will mean less because I can't easily find the links, bookmarks lost and messed up in a transfer, but I'd read several older articles about the issue (and some interesting responses in comments). That accusation largely came from Rickey Hendon, someone who had issues with Obama from the start and just had issues in general.
        It was common to give sponsorship of bills out in ways that helped careers (Hendoon himself got sponsorship of a big CTA bailout bill just before the final vote when he had two well-financed primary opponents) but that doesn't seem to be the only reason Obama got them. He wasn't just the name on the bills, one of his skills was negotiating and he really worked hard on these. That was not Hendon's skill. He had been working on the racial profiling and death-penalty reform and getting nowhere. It wasn't just republicans Obama worked with, it was community activists, rights people, the police and others. There were stories where they talked about the meetings..and the police who were against both of the bills initially (and not thrilled even in the end at least quit actively opposing them or offered mild support) felt their concerns were really heard and respected and some addressed within the final bill.
        It wasn't as simple as having the majority so now they could pass. Many Democrats were opposed to how far they went because of not wanting to look soft on crime or against police. The video-taping of both interrogations and confessions was not expected to pass and if it did it was expected to be vetoed. It passed unanimously.
        I don't know the background on the expanded health insurance for children but Obama was chairman of the committee.
        He did become much more focused and productive after his losing bid for Congress...I like positive responses to hard lessons.

        I'll defend lack of publishing too. Pragmatist that he was if he wanted a career as a professor you can bet he'd have published, it's part of it. He never planned on that. He always had other main jobs and other community obligations and he taught for the sake of teaching (and probably extra income). Don't think it shows any "thinness", he wasn't after tenure or promotions.

        If I were fashioning the perfect candidate I'd change some things. He does have weaknesses as I hear rumors he is human...I just don't think these are among them.

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