Sunday, February 25, 2007

Statehouse Yields Clues to Obama

An insightful article in today's WSJ about Obama's record and style in the IL legislature.  I like what I read.
As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama was a leader in helping to tighten state ethics laws -- up to a point. When a 2003 package seemed doomed in the Senate's final hours -- with his Democratic leader among the foes -- he left the chamber to tell advocates there was nothing more he could do.

"He wasn't going to stand on the desk and pound his shoe," recalls Cynthia Canary, director of the nonpartisan Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, and an admirer. "Barack is a political realist. You may know that in his heart he feels strongly, but he'll only go so far." Yet a compromise was salvaged, she adds, and Mr. Obama helped to toughen it in subsequent legislative sessions.

The accomplishment was emblematic of the picture that emerges of the eight years Mr. Obama spent here: of a lawmaker of lofty, liberal rhetoric who nonetheless pragmatically accepted bipartisan compromises that won over foes -- and sometimes left supporters dissatisfied.

Statehouse Yields Clues to Obama
Sharp Elbows of Illinois
Politics Taught Lessons
In Art of Compromise
February 23, 2007; Page A4


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