Rauschenberger vs. Obama
Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008
* Former state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger has been a designated attack dog against Barack Obama as of late. Here he is quoted in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal…
* Let’s take these one at a time. As Rob accurately notes, Rauschenberger spent the last few years of his own state Senate career trying desperately to get out - with no luck. He ran for US Senate in 2004 and was thumped in the GOP primary by Jack Ryan. He then turned right around and ran for governor, dropped out, and ran for lt. governor and was trounced again in the primary by Joe Birkett. And he won the top job at NCSL after promising insiders that he wouldn’t run for governor, which he did. Pot, kettle, etc.
* When Rauschenberger was in the majority, he did take his responsibilities fairly seriously. He was often quoted in the media on budget issues, for example, and he was a champion of a modernized sales tax, which went nowhere. It’s not difficult to believe that Rauschenberger was more involved than Obama was, but until his final few years, he was more involved than most everyone.
* Rauschenberger was also on Fox News recently and blasted Obama for switching his votes after the voting closed. The LA Times reported several weeks ago that Obama switched his vote six times.
Rauschenberger said of the vote switching: “Generally, it’s people, in my opinion, who are politically ambitious.”
Last week, I was flitting back and forth between the House and Senate and heard at least six instances in one day where members asked that their votes be switched. This is an extremely common occurence.
Rauschenberger pointed to a riverboat vote where Obama was getting pressure from both sides and Obama voted “Yes” but said he hit the wrong button and should be voted a “No.” Rauschenberger claimed: “It’s very difficult in those charged votes to believe that someone pushed the wrong color button.”
But I’ve seen this a kabillion times, too, and so has Rauschenberger. People are sometimes away from their desks and staff hit the wrong button, or they just goof. Six times in eight years ain’t much. Let’s say Rauschenberger is right on that one boat bill. That’s once in eight years. Not exactly a pattern.
* Rauschenberger also claimed that Obama “wasn’t a reformer” on Jeff Berkowitz’s show, mainly because he endorsed John Stroger over Forrest Claypool for county board president primary race and that nobody has been convicted of crimes due to the Obama/Dillard ethics bill.
Obama didn’t endorse John Stroger over Claypool. Instead, he was neutral and announced the day before the election that he was voting for Claypool. And I doubt that Rauschenberger’s fellow Republican Sen. Dillard thinks that ethics bill was worthless.
* If you have the time, watch the Berkowitz interview. Rauschenberger claims he doesn’t know where Obama is on issue after issue, but the conservative Berkowitz points out where he’s wrong time and time again. It looks to me like sour grapes on Rauschenberger’s part.
Again, Rauschenberger makes a few very good points, but overall his message seems, well, “bitter.”