We all know now that Obama is a truly inspiring speaker. What a relief that would be, after the present incumbent, someone in the White House who can speak the language of Shakespeare. But most demurrers of Obama say that he is thin on experience, a lightweight at getting things done. Well, let's look at some of his inexperience.
First, Obama graduated from Harvard Law, magna cum laude, in 1991, as president of the Law Review. He went on to be a civil rights lawyer with a Chicago law firm and teach constitutional law at the distinguished law school at the University of Chicago, from 1993 to 2004; another nice change from George W. Bush, someone who knows enough about constitutional law to teach it.
But what about his legislative record when he was an Illinois state senator from 1996 to 2004? Obama sceptic, Kevin Drum, until his impressive victory speech, last night, picks up the story from an article in today's 'Washington Post':
Consider a bill into which Obama clearly put his heart and soul. The problem he wanted to address was that too many confessions, rather than being voluntary, were coerced -- by beating the daylights out of the accused....The bill itself aroused immediate opposition. There were Republicans who were automatically tough on crime and Democrats who feared being thought soft on crime. There were death penalty abolitionists, some of whom worried that Obama's bill, by preventing the execution of innocents, would deprive them of their best argument. Vigorous opposition came from the police, too many of whom had become accustomed to using muscle to "solve" crimes. And the incoming governor, Rod Blagojevich, announced that he was against it.
....He responded with an all-out campaign of cajolery....The police proved to be Obama's toughest opponent, [but] by showing officers that he shared many of their concerns, even going so far as to help pass other legislation they wanted, he was able to quiet the fears of many.
Obama proved persuasive enough that the bill passed both houses of the legislature, the Senate by an incredible 35 to 0. Then he talked Blagojevich into signing the bill, making Illinois the first state to require such videotaping.
As one commenter, Archpundit says to the still slightly sceptical Kevin.
It was fought tooth and nail Kevin. The cops and prosecutors were adamantly against it for some time including the Democratic Cook County Prosecutor.
I swore reform was dead after the commutations, Obama pulled it off. It was an incredible sight.
The end result was truly amazing. The police groups hated the idea and they hated racial profiling legislation -- he passed both without angering them, but by working with them, listening, and showing good faith. I never thought it would pass with Democratic State's Attorneys opposing it, strongly even -- but he pulled everyone along and did it pretty quickly.
I know sometimes the claims sound too good to be true, but he is truly an amazingly talented politician with the right values. I like the other candidates, but every time I've seen him underestimated, he pulls out a victory whether it be electoral or policy.
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