Sunday, August 17, 2008

Senator, meet Senator

I've had something on my to-do list for months, and I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Come November, millions of us in the United States will become human resources professionals, and will consider candidates to fill a position. Barring some strange occurrence, it appears that we know who the two leading candidates for the job will be.

Interestingly enough, their resumes are similar in one respect - they both currently work for the same employer, and in fact have the same position and job description.

The thing on my to-do list is to compare the voting records of Senators McCain and Obama, since this, rather than any speechifying, will indicate where they REALLY stand on the issues.

However, I haven't gotten around to doing this yet, so I'm relying on other sources to compare the careers of the two Senators. David Broder:

I realized that they have little in shared experience on which to build a relationship. The 25-year difference in their ages is exceptionally wide for opposing candidates. McCain was already an established figure -- a committee chairman and former presidential candidate -- when Obama came to Washington a little less than four years ago. They serve on none of the same committees and rarely have collaborated on legislation.

But both candidates clearly remembered two occasions in which they interacted directly.

The first occurred in February 2006. Obama had joined members from both parties in a group organized by McCain to draft bipartisan legislation on ethics and lobbying reform, after McCain's hearings on the Jack Abramoff scandal. But when other Senate Democrats decided to write their own bill, Obama aligned himself with them....

[McCain wrote:] "I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere....I'm embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics, I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble."...

[Obama:] "That was one incident where he thought I had undercut him. I had a completely different view of it."

Of course, a Democrat would claim that this doesn't show Obama's opportunism, but McCain's temper.

The second occurred in June 2007, during Senate floor debate on the immigration bill. One key piece of the bill authorized a guest-worker program, which was unpopular with unions, who saw the immigrants as threats to their jobs. McCain told me that Obama had become part of a bipartisan group, led by Sen. Edward Kennedy and himself....

[But] "Obama went out and voted with the unions," McCain told me. McCain and Kennedy lost by one vote.

When [Broder] asked Obama to respond, he said, "When colleagues disagree on an issue, the notion that it's cause for attack is mistaken. I felt very strongly that the guest-worker program was not in the best interests of the country. I voted against it; he voted for it. ... I respect Senator McCain's right to take positions different than mine. What I don't do is abuse his integrity for doing so."

I hope the John and Ken listeners caught the nuances on that one.

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