July 1, 2008

Whitehouse in the White House?

Marc Comtois

This is a true not for nuthin': Obama announced his candidacy for President about two years after being elected to the U.S. Senate and look at him now. Well, we're just about two years into the Senatorial Career of one Sheldon Whitehouse. If the timeline were right, how seriously would we take a Whitehouse announcement that he's running for the White House after two years of national political experience? Why do I think the term hubris would get thrown around? Yeah, it's probably simplistic as all hell, but maybe it shows how much luck and timing , and how little experience, plays in this arena. Anyway, just a thought.

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Actually, although the idea of a Sheldon candidacy is appropriately mock-able, compare Sheldon's experience in government with Sen. Obama's:

Sheldon served in the AG's department as a line attorney for about five years;

He was Gov. Sundlun's Executive Counsel and Policy Chief during the extremely difficult period following the collapse of RISDIC, and during the 1991-92 state budget crisis;

He served as Director of Business Regulations;

He served four years as U.S. Atty;

He served four years as A.G.

Many of these positions involved high-level decisions of a kind that Sen. Obama has not even witnessed, let alone made.

Believe me, I'm not endorsing Sheldon . . . it's just by way of example of the complete inadequacy of Sen. Obama's resume.

Posted by: brassband at July 2, 2008 7:48 AM

Sheldon Whitehouse has been a progressively upward failure.He is the dictionary example of "empty suit".if you think of John Laroquette's role in "Stripes",there is Sheldon.I know personally that he was an incompetent US Attorney,insofar as he held that position during my last two years in INS and the people he put in charge of various functions there were the worst choices.He was unable to protect a 15 year old witness because he didn't know who was dangerous.Sheldon is a fop to the manor born.He deigns to serve us groundlings out of a sense of "noblesse oblige".How good of him.I cannot imagine a bigger disaster in the White House.Not even Obama,because at least he is legitimately popular-to meet Sheldon is to want to leave the room.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 2, 2008 8:25 AM

I said it earlier, but I'll say it again. Electing Obama would be more like electing Matt Brown to the White House than Sheldon Whitehouse.

Think of it. Both Obama and Brown went to prep. schools, then to Columbia University; both became "community organizers" whose paid "job" was to lead voting registration drives after college. Both men attended Ivy League law schools and subsequently got elected to state office.

Neither man had spent any time leading people or managing significant budgets.

The only "difference" is that Obama went to Harvard Law and Brown went to Yale Law, so they be on opposite sides of the same football field during Harvard-Yale.

Jim Langevin once said about Matt Brown: "Matt Brown's a nice guy. But I don't think he has the experience to work in the Senate."

So why are same people who thought Matt Brown was unqualified to be a senator now trying to convince us that Barack Obama is qualified to be PRESIDENT and leader of the free world?!?!?

It's hypocrisy and double-speak.

Posted by: Anthony at July 2, 2008 9:15 AM

Two comments:

1. "He was unable to protect a 15 year old witness because he didn't know who was dangerous."

That occurred, by he way, while Neville was the AG, not U.S. Attorney . . . and the story is actually worse than the public ever knew. In the budget cycle prior to the murder of that witness, Sheldon actually requested a massive cut in the AG's witness protection budget . . . then after the murder he cried that his office didn't have the resources for witness protection!!!

2. Matt Brown . . . the analogy is a pretty good one, but even Matt Brown has more executive experience than Sen. Obama!

Posted by: brassband at July 2, 2008 9:33 AM

Brass-who is Neville?I know that happened when Sheldon was AG.He managed to be the top law enforcement officer in the state and apparently didn't know much about the Ponas.It was his business to.Sheldon had some good prosecutors on his staff in both the federal and state positions he held,and never appreciated them because he couldn't prosecute a jaywalking case.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 2, 2008 10:42 AM

And Abraham Lincoln became a Republican in 1856, debated Stephen Douglas in 1858 and became president in 1860. Not much "experience". What exactly is your point.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at July 2, 2008 11:28 AM

Yes, OTL. And Lincoln served as a captain of an Illinois militia unit during the Black Hawk War, spent several years as a successful lawyer, served four terms in the Illinois House (where he didn't shirk from controversial issues) and served in the U.S. House.

Please, comparing Obama to Lincoln is roughly the equivalent of comparing Howdy Doody to Lincoln.

Even Obama's cited "real" experience is lacking.

He voted "present" so many times on controversial issues while in the Illinois state legislature, his colleagues were getting ready to giftwrap him and stick a bow on his head.


Posted by: Anthony at July 2, 2008 12:18 PM

JB --

"Neville" is my nickname for Sheldon, owing to his similarity to a certain appeasement-oriented former Prime Minister.

Posted by: brassband at July 2, 2008 12:45 PM

OTL, what does becoming a Republican have to do with anything? As Anthony points out, Abe was a politician (a member of the Whig party) before the GOP was formed.

Posted by: Marc at July 2, 2008 1:33 PM

"He voted "present" so many times on controversial issues while in the Illinois state legislature, his colleagues were getting ready to giftwrap him and stick a bow on his head."


Posted by: Monique at July 2, 2008 10:36 PM

Marc, Anthony, please read.
Who said: “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot do so well, for themselves, in their separate and individual capacities.”
A. Abraham Lincoln, B. Barack Obama

Who promoted “a protective tariff, and a program of internal improvements for facilitating transportation.”
A. Abraham Lincoln, B. Barack Obama

Who asked for “grandiose project for constructing with state funds a network of railroads, highways, and canals.”
A. Abraham Lincoln, B. Barack Obama

If you answered A to all three you were correct.

You should also note that “During his single term in Congress (1847–49), Lincoln, as the lone Whig from Illinois, gave little attention to legislative matters.” Although Lincoln did propose “a bill for the gradual and compensated emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia, but, because it was to take effect only with the approval of the ‘free white citizens’ of the district, it displeased abolitionists as well as slave holders and never was seriously considered.”

Lincoln voted to condemn Polk and the Mexican American War while also voting for supplies to carry it on. At the same time, he labored for the nomination and election of the war hero Zachary Taylor.
Source for the above is The Encyclopedia Britannica.

Now, I admire Lincoln as much as anyone, but his record before his presidency was relatively thin compared to the people he ran against who were:

Stephen Douglas, Democrat Candidate, was U.S. Senator from Illinois, 1847 to 1861. “As chairman of the Committee on Territories, Douglas dominated the Senate in the 1850s. He was largely responsible for the Compromise of 1850 that apparently settled slavery issues. Douglas had much more experience than Lincoln.

John Bell, Whig Candidate, was elected to the Twentieth United States Congress in 1826. He served Tennessee's 9th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1827 to 1841. He served as Speaker of the House from 1834 to 1835. Bell also served several terms as the chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs and served on the Committee on Judiciary.

John Breckenridge, Southern Democrat, was a lawyer, twice elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, turned down an ambassadorship to Spain and was elected Vice President of the United States in 1857. He ran as a sitting Vice President on the Southern Democratic ticket against Lincoln 1860. To date, Breckenridge is the youngest vice president in U.S. history, inaugurated at age 36.

Compare the above three to Abraham Lincoln who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1847- 1849. In 1858 he was a trial lawyer and held no public office.

Based on “Experience”, Lincoln comes in last. Based on the good of the country we were fortunate that he won.

And your point about experience was?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at July 3, 2008 11:02 PM

Time to reprise a phrase from recent campaigns: Obama lacks "gravitas."

This freshman Senator's background of involvement with left-wing union front groups like ACORN makes him qualified to waddle alongside Pat Crowley in street demonstrations, or conduct photo ops with Hugo Chavez, but that's about it.

Posted by: Tom W at July 4, 2008 9:13 AM
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