This morning Sen. Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president declaring,
“It was here, in Springfield, where North, South, East and West come together that I was reminded of the essential decency of the American people — where I came to believe that through this decency, we can build a more hopeful America. And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a divided house to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.”
The allusions to Lincoln are not just because both are from Illinois. Lincoln was a self-made man who became a great lawyer with his compassion, quick wit and famed speaking. Obama made his way in life by graduating magna cum laude at Harvard Law School and instead of taking a high paying corporate job became a community organizer helping the poor using those very same skills. Lincoln only served 2 terms in the House before becoming the leader of the United States during a time of turbulence and change. Obama, after 8 years in the state senate and still in his first term in the U.S. Senate, is trying to do the same.
The biggest complaint (at least one not invented by Fox News) is that he is too new, hasn’t done anything. I’d disagree. As chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee he created a state earned-income tax credit providing over $100 million in tax cuts to families across the state. He lead the fight for campaign and ethics reform in a state where the dead not only vote early but vote often. He has pledge to continue this fight saying today,
“They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we’re here today to take it back. The time for that kind of politics is over.”
As a U.S. Senator he sponsored bills to increase the amount of Pell grants and prevent the proliferation of dangerous weapons. In 2005 his voting record received perfect scores from National Education Association, American Wilderness Coalition, Alliance for Retired Americans, Children’s Defense Fund, and the Campaign for America’s Future. The only real question for me is what has everyone else been doing?