Daily Wisdom

March 09, 2008

Obama: The Uniter?

If you believe it's time to challenge the Washington politics that have let us down, and shut us out, and made us settle... If you believe it's time to restore a sense of mission to our politics and a sense of possibility to America... If you want a country that no longer treats itself as a collection of red states and blue states... If you want a president who can lead a UNITED States of America... Then I ask you to believe in this campaign. I ask you to believe in yourselves. I ask you to believe again in the dream that we call America.
--Barack Obama, 9/9/2007

I think it is fair to say that I believe I can bring the country together more effectively than (Hillary) can.
--Barack Obama, 8/14/2007

These are difficult challenges, but part of the reason that I am in this race is that I believe I can unite the country and overcome these challenges.
--Barack Obama, March 2008

Obama likes to portray himself as a uniter, but is he really? What does his record suggest? Well, if you read last week's Op-Ed piece by David Ignatius in the Washington Post, it's pretty clear that Obama's record is "thin" on bridge-building. Ignatius asks...

If Obama truly intends to unite America across party lines and break the Washington logjam, then why has he shown so little interest or aptitude for the hard work of bipartisan government? ...The record is mixed, but it's fair to say that Obama has not shown much willingness to take risks or make enemies to try to restore a working center in Washington.
--David Ignatius, 3/2/2008

To go one step further, I decided to do a little research for myself. I started with the presumption that if Barack Obama is a "uniter" as he claims, then there must be some evidence for it in his voting record. The Washington Post maintains a database on the voting records of the members of Congress HERE. You can search all of Obama's votes by going HERE. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, there is a link for "Older Votes". If you keep following this link you will work your way back to January 2005, and end up with a complete picture of every vote Obama made since he first entered the US Senate.

But how can one readily judge from a voting record if a person is a "uniter" or "divider"? I had to make some assumptions, and therein lies the potential pitfall, but let's go on. I first assumed that a "uniter" would likely be a "middle-of-the-road" kind of person who shares views in common with members on both sides of the aisle. You can't unite people without finding common ground. He or she would probably be a moderate, who could work well with moderate Republicans and Democrats alike. A "divider" on the contrary, would likely be a very dogmatic, polarizing individual.

If that assumption is correct, then one would expect the voting record of a "uniter" to be at least somewhat balanced in terms of voting with or against one's own party. In a polarized political environment, a true center-of-the-road moderate would be expected to swing back and forth between issues favored by Republicans and issues favored by Democrats. A "uniter" might also be expected to vote for legislation favored by the other party as a reward for past support of their own legislation, or as political incentive towards obtaining support in the future. As a measure of such "balance", I decided to look at how often Obama voted with Republicans, versus how often he voted along party lines. The results do not portray the image of a "uniter" as defined herein.

From January 2005, until March 6, 2008, Barack Obama had 1126 opportunities to vote in the US Senate. Out of those 1126 opportunities, he did not vote on 201 occasions. Out of the 925 times he actually did vote, he did not vote along party lines only 28 times (or 3.0%). And out of those 28 times he did not side with his own party, at least 16 times he also did not side with the Republicans (ie, he voted against the majority of BOTH parties). This leaves only 12 votes out of 925 (1.3%) where he sided with Republicans. Not the kind of numbers you might expect from someone who claims to be a "uniter".

I did not work up the numbers for Hillary, since she makes no particular claim to be a "uniter". Nevertheless, I did something of a comparison for John McCain. I did not go through every single vote the way I did with Obama, but I am relying on some published figures and data (also from the Washington Post). For the same time period (January 2005 - March 6, 2008), John McCain also had 1126 opportunities to vote in the US Senate. Out of those 1126 opportunities, he did not vote on 333 occasions. Out of the 793 times he actually did vote, he did not vote along party lines 145 times (or 18.3%). And out of those 145 times he did not side with his own party, 49 times he also did not side with the Democrats (ie, he voted against the majority of BOTH parties). This leaves 96 votes out of 793 (12.1%) where he sided with Democrats. By comparison percentage-wise, John McCain is 9.3 times more likely to be a "uniter" than Barack Obama using these assumptions and criteria.

Barack Obama:
- Total Opportunities to Vote = 1126 times.
- Did Not Vote = 201 times (17.85%)
- Actually Voted = 925 times (82.15%)
- Voted Against Dems = 28 times (3.0% of 925)
- Voted Against BOTH parties = 16 times (1.73% of 925)
- Voted With Republicans = 12 times (1.3% of 925)

John McCain:
- Total Opportunities to vote = 1126
- Did Not Vote = 333 times (29.57%)
- Actually Voted = 793 (70.43%)
- Voted Against GOP = 145 times (18.28% of 793)
- Voted Against BOTH parties = 49 times (6.18% of 793)
- Voted with Democrats 96 times (12.1% of 793)

The Bottom Line:
On a percentage basis of votes cast, John McCain is 9.3 times more likely to "reach across the aisle" and equally more likely to be a "uniter" than Barack Obama.


At 3/09/2008 6:30 PM , Blogger Barb said...

He is probably dyslexic and intended to say "Untier"
I'm sorry , I just couldn't resist.Seriously though,he will say anything to get elected.If he found he could get 5 more votes with untier than uniter he would say "untier."
I haven't heard him say one word that would make a Conservative want to vote for him. Of course ,neither has John McCain.


At 3/09/2008 6:56 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Hi Barb,
I'm beginning to think you're right. BO will say almost anything to pander to the crowds... which makes him nothing more than another lying politician.

At 3/09/2008 10:05 PM , Blogger Ms RightWing's Ink said...

This is going to be scary. No man or woman to live up to the constitution.

I once thought I would change party lines in the Ohio primary and vote for Obama in order to knock Hillary out. No longer does that thought enter my mind.


At 3/09/2008 10:22 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Ms RW,
Yeah, some choices we have huh? Either we get a liberal Dem from the Senate, or the MOST LIBERAL Dem from the Senate, or a Democratic wannabe who sides with the Dems 18-20% of the time... Sheesh!

Best regards...

At 3/10/2008 12:51 AM , Anonymous R.A.M. said...

Hawkeye, If there was any justice in this world, you would be writing for a national magazine or newspaper! Excellent job!

Like the Bible says in not so many words, they will be blinded and not see or thinking themselves educated, they will become fools. I am of course talking about the "fanatics" who swoon over Obama. Maybe he is the anti-Christ? I thought it was Hitlery. lol

If God allows Obama to become President, then our Nation has sinned enough that his judgement cannot be far off, when we become an "Obama-Nation".

Of course, there is always the possibility of a National Revival and Obama's heart can change, but I am not really seeing that happen!

At 3/10/2008 3:37 AM , Anonymous camojack said...

Nice, thorough job. Kudos...

At 3/10/2008 8:01 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

R.A.M. & Camo,
Thanks for the kind words!

(:D) Best regards...

At 3/10/2008 8:40 PM , Blogger mig said...

Did you say Obamanation?

He doesn't say anything. Just I am for change. I am the one. But the one what?

At 3/11/2008 7:23 AM , Blogger Beerme said...

I'm not sure that your methodology doesn't do a better job of pointing out McCain's faults than Obama's, but I certainly agree with the premise. He is a big L Liberal and no "uniter".

I don't really want a uniter, though...Maybe that's why I don't want to vote for John McCain.

Great work, Hawkeye®!

At 3/11/2008 8:01 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Yes, he's simply 'Obama-nable'.

(:D) Best regards...

At 3/11/2008 8:06 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

I know what you mean. Assuming I vote for McCain, I will have to hold my nose while I pull the lever. And thanks for the kind words.

(:D) Best regards...


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