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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My question that I wish Bob Schieffer would ask Barack Obama tomorrow night

What do elemental mercury and the Congo have in common? They're the subject of the only two pieces of legislation Barack Obama has passed through Congress as author and principal sponsor. In my evening guest-post at HughHewitt.com, that's what I suggest moderator Bob Schieffer ought to ask Obama about in tomorrow night's debate.


[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

Earlier today, Hugh asked readers here to email him at [email protected] with questions they'd like to see moderator Bob Schieffer pose to Barack Obama tomorrow night. I have only one, but I think it's substantive as any debate question could possibly be:

Senator Obama, during your first two years in the Senate, senior GOP senators Richard Lugar and Tom Coburn invited you to join them as a bipartisan co-sponsor on bills involving securing nuclear weapons stockpiles and making information on government funding available on the internet. Both of those bills passed the Senate by unanimous consent and the House on voice vote — meaning they were so non-controversial that not a single member of Congress went on record against either of them. You were the principal sponsor, and saw passed into law in December 2006, a low-profile bill to provide financial relief and promote stability in the Congo, but it too passed without a single dissenting vote in either chamber.

Your party gained control of the Senate and the House almost two years ago, and since then you've also been one of many co-sponsors on such legislation as the ethics reform bill in 2007, which had 16 other co-sponsors besides you and which passed the Senate by a vote of 96 to 2.

But it wasn't until just last month — after a rather pointed jab from Gov. Palin in her convention speech before 40 million Americans — that you finally managed, as author and principal sponsor, to pass through both chambers of Congress a law of any arguable national significance, Senate Bill 906, the "Mercury Market Minimization Act of 2007." But it has still yet to be either signed into law or vetoed by President Bush. And it, too, passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, and by a roll-call vote of 393 to 5 in the House — which suggests that there's not really much controversy over restricting the foreign export, or the domestic sale by U.S. agencies, of elemental mercury.

Since you still haven't actually been the principal sponsor of a single piece of significant and controversial federal legislation from the drafting stage through passage into law during your almost four full years as a U.S. Senator, why should voters think you'd be any more effective in the vastly harder job of President of the United States?

Sen. Barack Obama pats down his pockets, looking for his legislative record

Sen. Barack Obama pats down his pockets, looking for his legislative record

Additional notes and links:

The nonproliferation bill, which built upon legislation previously authored by Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) and Sen. Lugar, started as Senate Bill 1949 in the 109th Congress, entitled the "Cooperative Proliferation Detection, Interdiction Assistance, and Conventional Threat Reduction Act of 2005," and it was sponsored by Sen. Lugar with Sen. Obama as the single co-sponsor. It went nowhere after introduction, but was reintroduced by Sen. Lugar the following year as Senate Bill 2566, re-titled as the "Cooperative Proliferation Detection, Interdiction Assistance, and Conventional Threat Reduction Act of 2006," with Sen. Obama now listed among 26 co-sponsors. That version was reported out of commmittee and placed on the Senate legislative calendar on May 25, 2006, but never received a vote in the full Senate in that form. Instead, its guts were inserted into House Bill 6060, the "Department of State Authorities Act of 2006," which passed the House by voice vote on December 8, 2006, and then passed the Senate by unanimous consent on December 9, 2006. It was thus signed into law as part of Public Law No. 109-472 by President Bush on January 11, 2007, without so much as a single member of either chamber of Congress having voted against it.

The funding disclosure bill started as Senate Bill 2590, entitled the "Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006." It was introduced on April 6, 2006, by Sen. Coburn, with Sen. Obama, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as original co-sponsors. Eventually it picked up a total of 47 Senate co-sponsors, and on September 7, 2006, it passed the Senate by unanimous consent. It passed the House by voice vote on September 13, 2006. It, too, was thus signed into law as Public Law No. 109-282 on September 26, 2006.

Public Law No. 109-456, the 2006 bill to "to promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," was estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost "about $50 million over the 2007-2011 period," which of course is only a fraction of the amount in pork earmarks Sen. Obama has sought and obtained for a region in substantially greater need of "relief, security, and [especially] democracy" — Illinois.

Posted by Beldar at 11:19 PM in 2008 Election, Mainstream Media, McCain, Obama, SCOTUS & federal courts | Permalink


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(1) Carol Herman made the following comment | Oct 15, 2008 10:54:09 AM | Permalink

It's so sad to watch this. Where it wasn't bad enough you had Dubya's disaster! It is now compounded.

Why don't people ask Sarah Palin about all the "new handlers" that showed up. From the old Bush team. "To take over."

Were these "old boys," laughing up their sleeves, that we'd keep getting Dubya's crew? Was that the trick?

Yes, Sarah Palin is a social conservative. In an American world where lots of pregnant women want the testing; so they don't have to have a live birth of a defective child. Here? Sarah Palin considers this her badge of honor.

As if you can take away legal abortions, if not all at once, by Supreme Court edict; then "state-by-state." And, yes. There's obscene amounts of money floating around, that make a woman's trek into a clinic frought with religious screamers outside.

Meanwhile, McCain failed all on his own! He has no plan! He's just McNasty. And, believe it or not, you can trace his downhill slide to his own behaviors. When he "cancelled" his first debate, to run into Bush's meeting. And, then, after spending 40-minutes in silence at this meeting, he just upped and left. There's your hole, folks.

There's also something else that should be noticed. And, perhaps will be noticed down the road? But the social conservatives push all other conservatives OUT! They're just not religious enough, I guess. (And, what happens if you choose to ignore the world famous: Separation of Church and State.)

Consider the GOP out-played.

Consider that Limbaugh will never admit to his "operation chaos," where to push Obama to the top, he suggested to those in southern states to register as democrats, "and then just cross over to vote for Obama." And, the bigger threat of Hillary, running, would disappear.

I'd bet there are lots of GOP charletons, now, looking for escape hatches.

Once this nation comes together on election day, things tend to heal. And, then? Could be a blow out. Which will finally send Bush, and all his stooges, who sit in government job's swivel chairs ... maybe, it will just send them packing?

All because a few social conservatives couldn't stop sprew hate. And, yes, hatred against women, too. Women who prefer "choice" to mean access to legal abortions.

Where does it get funny? Okay. When Tina Fey portrays Sarah Palin to the hilt.

Sarah Palin's problem? She let the Bush fellas "handle her."

Where once, Ronald Reagan, still "just a B-movie actor" in 1966, told the Goldwater conservatives to stuff their hate! He never ran on that stuff.

Did Reagan have to veer way to the right? Yes, he did. Again, if you look, you'll see the Bush Family, and the Rockefeller family, thinking the GOP was theirs. And, only they could distribute the spoils.

Trust a Bush now? Why? His dreck is all under our shoes. Lots of Americans are wishing "he'd just go." Sort'a with the same kick once given to LBJ.

Can happen to a politican full of himself.

(2) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Oct 15, 2008 7:29:56 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: There's a reason trial lawyers command a higher price in the market place than reference librarians, and you've demonstrated why. I appraoched this problem from the nominations angle. E.g. the nomination of Yousif Ghafari to be Ambassador of Slovenia, sent to the Senate by Geo W. on 11 December 2007. There it sat until 8 April 08, when the Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden Chair, held hearings. Note well: it's not usual for full committees to hear nominations. They usually refer the nominations to the relevant subcommittee. Slovenia being in Europe, it would go to the Subcommittee on European Affairs. Who chairs that? Why, it's The One, who slammed McC for suspending his campaign during the financial crisis on the grounds that Presidents should be able to handle more than one task at a time. Not The One, who floated around the nation with his faux presidential seal and its igpay atinlay motto, beatifically sniffing all the roses tossed his way (alas, none had a bee inside),but could not be bothered to hold hearings. So his nominal boss on the parent Committee, Biden, had to do the job. That would have been a swell question for Biden at the Veep debate: "Senator Biden, how does it feel to have to do your subcommittee chair's work because he's too busy being The One? Did you give him hell for holding up a nomination to an important part of the world?" etc. The One could be asked about his shiftlessness in holding nomination hearings---or any other kind, failing to take advantage of the tremendous learning opportunities a hard-working Senator can grab. Mock Congress as we will, it is a splendid opportunity to learn about matters that affect the nation. Having learned, the Congressional is then presumably able to write or amend legislation that grapples with such problems. The One has neither written legislation, nor learned anything, showing a marked distaste for any work that isn't loaded with glamour.

But your formulation of this question is much better than mine. Nice work.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

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