Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Obama's response for Farm Bill vote absence

You may have read here that I was pretty miffed at Obama's absence at the Farm Bill voting. I was rather torn because I thought I might want him to be president, but I thought his absence from the majority of reform amendment votes was a sign that he just wasn't walking the walk for all of his talk. Well, I told him about it and he (or his office anyway)emailed me back a very detailed letter about the subject. I am actually pretty satisfied with his response. It was so detailed and so long that I will not post the whole thing here, but here is a highlight:

"Thank you for advising me of your concern that my presidential campaign is detracting from my responsibilities as a United States Senator. I appreciate your candor.

I initially ran for the Senate because I felt this venue would provide an opportunity to work to improve our society for all its citizens. I arrived in the Senate in January 2005, and it quickly became clear to me that until the Democrats regained the ability to set the legislative agenda by being the majority party in Congress, not much would change. "

"After much reflection, I concluded that I could best address these problems by running for president in 2008. I initiated this campaign in February 2007, but my top priority remains serving the people of Illinois. My work as a Senator continues – listening to the concerns and needs of constituents, advancing legislation that will make our country safer, stronger, and more just, and fighting for our shared priorities in Congress. "

"You mentioned your concern that I have missed some votes this year. As I engage in my dual challenge, I have made a point of keeping Majority Leader Reid and Assistant Leader Durbin apprised of my travel schedule so that I can adjust it any time they think I might miss a contested vote. As a result, I have not missed any votes where my vote would have changed the outcome."

There is a LOT more than that with specifics on what he has done as a senator this year. I am officially mollified for now and if it is true that Durbin could have called him back at any time, then I bow to the judgement of Senator Durbin as he is one of the top Reform Dudes. I appreciate that his office gave a response, so I feel obligated to retract my ire in this format!

4 comments:

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GreenMatters08 said...

I'd like to see the entire letter! Please share it if you have the time...

Everyone please sign up for the "Green Matters" event at www.envirobama.com/greenmatters

Anonymous said...

So, if I understand this right, Obama couldnt get much done early on because the Republicans controlled the majority...then he decided he really couldnt do much as a Senator, even with the majority, so he began to run as POTUS...

ISnt this pretty much an non answer to your questions...what happened to accountability?

CCYL said...

You have hit on a reason I used the work "mollified" instead of "happy" to describe my feelings about this. I still would have preferred that all three candidate/Senators came back from Iowa for all the reform votes, but I especially picked on Obama because he was my senator. For the part that did directly answer my question: Durbin's office backed Obama on the statement that Durbin could have called Obama back from Iowa at any time if the vote hinged on him (in the Trib somewhere I think. I wish I still knew where to find that). I might prefer to vote for Durbin for pres, but he isn't running.

There's another thing about this if you didn't catch it. It wasn't only the Republicans blocking Farm Bill reform. A lot of prominent Dems are holding it up and Speaker Pelosi didn't help on the House side by urging a compromise with more assistance, but no reform. Our Republican president seems the more interested in capping subsidies these days than the bi-partisan conference committee.