Monday, March 03, 2008

Dereliction of duty

It's a serious charge that Joe Wilson --- yes, that Joe Wilson, Mr Valerie Plame --- levels against Barack Obama.

Senator Obama, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee and chairman of the subcommittee responsible for NATO and Europe, could have, and should have, been conducting hearings and other oversight actions on the Bush administration's handling of the war Afghanistan. Did he?

But, instead, Obama, by his own admission, offers the excuse that he has been too busy running for president to do anything substantive, such as direct his staff to organize a single hearing. "Well, first of all," Obama was forced to confess in the Democratic debate in Ohio on February 26, "I became chairman of this committee at the beginning of this campaign, at the beginning of 2007. So it is true that we haven't had oversight hearings on Afghanistan." To date, his subcommittee has held no policy hearings at all -- none. At the same time that Obama claimed he was too busy campaigning to do anything substantive, racking up one of the worst attendance records in the Senate, Senator Clinton chaired extensive hearings of the Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health and attended many others as a member of the Armed Service Committee.

You can read the rest of it here.

That just decided it for me. If for some goofy reason, and don't count us out of the running for goofy, Florida should hold another primary, I was leaning toward voting for Hillary simply on identity politics alone. That "iron my shirt!" really got to me.

They're both still Republicans if you ask me, and very similar to each other [and different from me] on the issues I care about, but now I have more reasons to vote for Hillary: she was just as busy as he was, running for President and all that jazz, but she made time to look out for the environment, and he couldn't be bothered, not even once, to check on a war.

As an antiwar treehugger, I've just found my line in the sand.

Update 3-4-2008:

Okay, I'll back up somewhat on this. There are some good arguments here both for and against expecting Obama to have taken a greater leadership role on Afghanistan than he has done since his election to the Senate. So, it's not out of line for him not to have done more [since the subcommittee he chairs traditionally hasn't been all that active on Afghanistan in recent years] but he had opportunities to roll up his sleeves, get to to work, and get involved in some important areas of foreign affairs, but appears to have passed them up.

Not a big deal if you're just a freshman Senator, but not a good choice if you're planning to become President shortly.


Anonymous said...

Gah. There was another subcommittee that had jurisdiction of Afghanistan specifically. The subcommittee which Barack Obama chaired did not except as an umbrella.

Steve Bates said...

Agreed. HaloScan axed my longer, better written comment, but I'm dancin' with them as brung me... for this reason among others.

Keifus said...

Probably not surprising. It's not as if any one of these should be expected to put duty and responsibility in front of personal ambition. The office pretty much automatically weeds that quality out, doesn't it? I suppose we can hope that candidate's goals for the office more or less match ours. Is that what voting character is?

Basically republicans? Maybe. I'm too young to have a clear memory of any democratic presidents before Carter (and him not well). I suppose I remember Tip O'Neill okay. The DLC brand has been around a while now.

[Looking at the calendar: wasn't I in a pool for about now? How'd I guess?]

hipparchia said...

[i was just thinking about that. i think you win, keifus. didn't you have the latest date in the pool? i haven't bought any books yet.]

Anonymous said...

I'll vote for her if she gets the ticket, but there's NOTHING she can say that will ever excuse her vote to allow clusterbombing.

There is no excuse for siding with McCain and the other nazi-neocons to vote against that ammendment.

Anonymous said...

p.s. i love your fraynick. it's hands-down-thumbs-up the best one there! i know someone mentioned that there, but i just had to echo.

hipparchia said...

[awwww, thanks. but i can only take credit for being quick enough to steal it from urq before anybody else got to it.]

hipparchia said...

as well you should [vote for obama]. your reason is valid one.