An Illinois State Senator who Voted “Present” Too Many Times Now Says “I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision”

The House Speaker has a podium display that shows how everyone is voting or not voting. He can see who is voting Yes, No or Present.

I made many difficult votes as a state legislator during my sixteen years in Springfield.

When Barack Obama was state senator he gained a reputation for his “present” votes.

There are three votes an Illinois legislator can cast:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Present

In 2007, this Veteran was playing patriotic tunes at the tent-covered memorial overlooking where the World Trade Center stood before 9-11. We didn't find a memorial this summer.

“Present” has the same effect as a “No” vote, because legislation must obtain an absolute majority to pass. (There are exceptions calling for a 60% majority when approving bonds, but without enough “Yes” votes, legislation fails.)

It’s basically a chicken’s way out.

Someone who votes “Present” can concoct an explanation that will leave a naive constituent believing he was really on his or her side on the issue.

Now, as President, Obama doesn’t want to say whether it’s wise to build a mosque two blocks away from 9/11 ground. I am pretty certain the ruble from the twin towers flew more than two blocks as a wave of debris was sent hurtling through the air.

A political firestorm was ignited when Obama held a Ramadan dinner at the White House and announced his support for building the mosque.

That’s the impression everyone in the room got including the New York Times who printed this headline:

Obama Strongly Backs Islam Center Near 9/11 Site

You can find it here.

Clarence Page column in the Chicago Sun-Times commented on Barack Obama's mixed message.

Obama then created a second, larger political firestorm when the next day he explained how he really voted “present” and didn’t take a position on whether the mosque should or shouldn’t be built there.

If you believe the Associated Press and New York Times, Obama voted “present” 129 times.

Aside from this mosque issue what the business community has picked up on is they can’t trust Obama to be really for something, even when members of his friendly media believe that’s what Obama communicated.

A campaign slogan of

“Yes. We Can!”

has become a governing slogan of

“Yes, We Can’t Trust Obama When He’s For Something”

It reminds me of the story of a guy being confronted by his wife finding another woman’s bra in the family car’s glove compartment. When confronted by his angry wife the husband exclaimed

“What are you asking me for? It ain’t mine!”

President Bill Clinton infamously answered how it depends on what the definition of “is,” is.

A thriving economy in our country depends on a political climate where businesses can invest in more jobs and depend on not getting clobbered by higher costs and higher taxes because of the whims of politicians.

No such confidence exists in Illinois, of course, and one could reasonably argue in the rest of the nation, as well, as far as Federal tax policy goes.

Having never worked in business, Obama has a lawyer-centric view of the world. He can give impressions to people, while figuratively insisting he voted “Present.”

Not much has changed since the time he spent in the state senate.

More tomorrow.


An Illinois State Senator who Voted “Present” Too Many Times Now Says “I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision” — 1 Comment

  1. There is already a mosque there and if I did forget there is a little known verse in the Constitution about freedom of Religion. I guess not everyone is equal to people some people. I guess Hitlers beliefs are to far from home are they when people want to prosecute those of different religions. Remember that Christians weren’t the only ones that died on the this site and the Plane that went down in Penn. We need to remember them all. Here we go with the elite stuff again. This should be an election about how we are going to get our country back on its feet and Republicans are going to use this for hate and fear again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *