Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Little Quiz

Let's talk about substance in politics. Chris Matthews embarassed a senior level adviser of Obama a couple of days ago by asking him to list Obama's accomplishments. He couldn't do so. For all the decrying with regard to the concept of "experience" in this presidential campaign, let me offer a few tidbits. Let me ask the following questions about the various presidential candidates past experience. Who was responsible for the following;

1. In 1996, who voted against the Telecommunications Act because of the belief that the act gave away too much to the telecommunications companies, and protected them from true competition? (Hint: AT&T alone gave $780,000 to Republicans and $456,000 to Democrats in the year leading up to the vote.)

2. In 1998, who championed anti-smoking legislation that faced furious opposition from the tobacco lobby? (Hint: The tobacco companies responded by hiringd 200 lobbyists and spending $40 million in advertising (three times as much as the health care reform ads).)

3. Who has a longstanding opposition to ethanol subsidies and argues that ethanol is a wasteful giveaway? (A recent study in the journal Science has shown that when you take all impacts into consideration, ethanol consumption increases greenhouse gas emissions compared with regular gasoline.)

4. Which candidate has pushed hardest for campaign finance reform?

5. Whose investigation exposed billions of dollars of waste and layers of contracting irregularity with regard to the leasing contract the Pentagon had signed with Boeing for aerial refueling tankers?

6. Who led the Congressional investigation into the behavior of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff exposing shocking misbehavior by important conservative activists?

7. Who ridicules annually the latest batch of Congressional earmarks and has proposed legislative remedies including greater transparency?

8. Who is almost singlehandedly responsible for seat belts and air bags and cars that hold the road better, that don’t flip or crumple up or catch fire as easily as earlier models?

9. Who was the driving force behind the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission?

10. Same question as to the Freedom of Information Act?

11. Who fought for and won compensation for airline passengers bumped from overbooked flights?

We can use a little heat in this coming election. There are issues which should be championed that none of the front running candidate dare touch. At this juncture of the campaign, it is important not to lockstep into a mindset which precludes a good evaluation of each candidate's prior "experience" and how their respective acts have served to demonstrate their character and integrity under fire. (Note: answers 1-7 McCain, 8-11 Nader)

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