I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Experience: Effort vs. Results

James Allen once said, "In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result." People seem to have begun paying attention to the message from the Hillary Clinton campaign touting her experience and, in particular, her legislative accomplishments. (This, of course, carries the implied finger pointing at Obama's lack of same - certainly a fair accusation by most counts.) This weekend Maha takes a look at Clinton's list of legislative achievements (vs. "efforts") and finds the tally sheet to be a bit thin, to say the least.
What has struck me about the Clinton campaign is that the candidate seems to confuse “effort” with “accomplishment.” She tells us she has “fought for” this and that for many years — true enough — but how many of those battles have been won?

Last week there was much hoo-hawing among the Clintonistas about a fellow on MSNBC’s Hardball who could not list any legislative accomplishments of Senator Obama. The Clinton campaign pushed that episode hard, to contrast it with Senator Clinton’s glittering legislative record. But notice, no one actually challenged Senator Clinton to list her legislative accomplishments.

She's referring to an excellent piece at Huffpo (which I missed entirely when it first went online) by Adam Hanft titled, The Myth of Hillary Clinton's Senate Effectiveness. In this piece, Hanft asks what should have been a rather obvious question.
Is she truly a beacon of experience? Because I couldn't think of a single piece of legislation that has her name stuck proudly on the front of it, no equivalent of McCain-Feingold, for example, I headed straight for her campaign website to see what glorious aspects of her vaunted experience I was missing.

The answer might be startling to some of Hillary's more ardent supporters.
Actually, I was missing nothing. There is not one single example of any legislation with her name appended to it. In fact, the page devoted to her Senate biography is a mush-mash, a laundry list of good intentions. When she talks about "sponsoring" and "introducing" and "fighting for" legislation that obviously hasn't passed, that's a smokescreen for failure. By introducing all that legislation that never makes it out of committee, she's guilty of what she accuses Senator Obama of: confusing "hoping" with doing.

He then goes on to list a surprising rap sheet of bills which Clinton created but, not only fail to make it out of committee, but were unable to attract even a single co-sponsor from her own party, to say nothing of bridging the divide and gaining GOP support. As Maha points out, in 2007 Senator Clinton had her name on 100 pieces of legislation. Of those, 7 of them made it to the floor. Each and every one of them were on such controversial, productive subjects such as support for winners of the Purple Heart and opposition to cancer.

I generally try to sum up a post like this with some pithy analysis of what it all means, but since Maha has already done the heavy lifting for me, let's give her the final word.
Obama’s legislative record is similarly light. The plain fact is that both Clinton and Obama are junior senators, and their legislative accomplishments, or lack thereof, reflect that. Yet Clinton supporters continue to insist that their candidate is the one with experience and accomplishment who knows how to get things done. And Obama supporters are just caught up in a cult of personality.

On top of which, some Clinton supporters are still arguing that she would be the stronger candidate in the general election, even as her campaign for the nomination flounders.

Right. Um, who’s getting real, dears?