http://thomas.loc.gov/, that is. THOMAS (it's not an acronym so I'm not sure why it's always capitalized), named after Thomas Jefferson (the inventor of the internet--or was that Al Gore?), is the Library of Congress's website. You can go to THOMAS and ask him in a user-friendly manner what Congress is up to, and he'll give you a very complete answer--everything from the texts of bills and resolutions to comittee reports, roll call votes, and what is currently going on on the Floor (Mr. Peterson of Minnesota got to lead the Pledge of Allegiance for the last few days. Do they take turns?).
At times like this, however, the congressional records of individual candidates and the texts and co-sponsors of their bills and resolutions are particularly useful--if you can wade through them. Fortunately it's 2008, so that means that some blogger somewhere has done the wading for us. God Bless the Internet! And Mr. Peterson of Minnesota!
The purpose of this particular blog entry is to link you to another one of those bloggers. Found on the very liberal Daily Kos, a contributor went through THOMAS looking at the bills that both Clinton and Obama authored and introduced, along with their co-sponsors (indicating an ability to gain consensus and work with others) to get to the heart of that pesky "experience" thing. Even as a staunch Obama supporter, I was surprised by her findings. Of course one would not expect this blogger's research to be unbiased or comprehensive, but I did think that many of her observations were very astute and was pleased with her findings. Check out her entry here.
I did look something up on THOMAS just a few days ago, to support an discussion I was having with another online person. If you're interested, it's in the extended entry.
Is there anything worse than a person quoting herself? Well, here goes. Cross-posted from an argument elsewhere regarding Hillary and her vote for war...
Clinton has claimed that she didn't know her vote was a vote for war. Here's the quote from MSNBC and her interview with Tim Russert:
MR. RUSSERT: A vote for war is a very important vote.
SEN. CLINTON: Well, you know, Tim, we can have this Jesuitical argument about what exactly was meant. You know, when Chuck Hagel, who helped to draft the resolution, said it was not a vote for war, when I was told directly by the White House in response to my question, "if you are given this authority, will you put the inspectors in and permit them to finish their job," I was told that's exactly what we intended to do.
While I'd love to give her props for using the word "Jesuitical," I gotta cut straight to the issue. So Chuck Hagel says it's not a vote for war, and the White House tells her they intended to put inspectors in and permit them to finish their job, and so she votes for it. Did she read the resolution? Like, for example, the title? From the Library of Congress website, the summary of the resolution is:
Title: To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.
*snip of administrative details*
SUMMARY AS OF:
10/11/2002--Passed Senate without amendment. (There are 2 other summaries)
Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 - Expresses support for the President's efforts to: (1) strictly enforce through the United Nations Security Council all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and (2) obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion, and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions.
Authorizes the President to use the U.S. armed forces to: (1) defend U.S. national security against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. Directs the President, prior to or as soon as possible (but no later than 48 hours) after exercising such authority, to make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that: (1) reliance on further diplomatic or peaceful means alone will not achieve the above purposes; and (2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization for use of the armed forces, consistent with requirements of the War Powers Resolution.
Requires the President to report to Congress at least every 60 days on matters relevant to this resolution.
I mean it's all fine and well to believe Chuck Hagel and the White House when they say it's not a vote for war and that they're sending in the inspectors first, but that last part seems pretty damned clear that this was a vote for war. Granted I don't have 35 years of government experience (although in June I'll have 35 years of experience breathing outside of the womb!), I feel kind of confident drawing that conclusion. It's a bit disconcerting to hear that she relied more on what Chuck Hagel said the intention of the resolution was than the actual text of the resolution itself. What kind of conclusion are we supposed to draw from that? That she didn't actually read the thing?
I don't believe she did that. I think she knew full well it was a vote for war and authorized it. She's not an idiot. So it bothers me that she's playing the fool now. Girlfriend needs a new strategy.