I was on a panel at a seminar the other day with a local congresswoman, a prominent international business executive and members of the national press, and the conversation turned to the U.S. presidential contest. Someone noted that Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s lack of accomplishments in the U.S. Senate was already shaping up as possibly the key issue in the fall, the one that the McCain campaign was gleefully plotting to exploit.
While wishing it could be so, I pointed out that plenty of U.S. senators have risen to prominence in public life without any early legislative accomplishments just based on how the Senate works – John Edwards being a stellar example of this.
“Look,” I said, “John doesn’t have a record in the Senate. John’s only passed four bills. They’re all about post offices. I mean, literally. And most freshman senators don’t get much done. Don’t get much passed. Barack Obama hasn’t passed any. There’s not a major bill I know with Hillary’s name on it.”
One reporter interjected: “Excuse me, Mr. Budzinski, that’s an interesting observation, but I think it is the exact observation that Senator Joe Biden made last year.”
Well, color me surprised, so it was. “Maybe great minds think alike,” I replied, “Or maybe I heard that on the radio and sublimated it. Anyway, a truth is a truth.”
The discussion went on to how this election might change the perception of race in this country, with the prospect of America’s first African-American president and first lady suddenly not only thinkable but obviously welcomed by many whites.