Politics

Obama’s Voting Record Belies Moderate Image

In his televised response to President Bush’s Iraq speech last Wednesday, Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) told Larry King he would be making his decision on a run for the White House "fairly soon."

Obama’s decision today to seek the Democratic nomination will shin a spotlight on votes he made during his six years in the Illinois Senate—before coming to Washington, D.C., as a U.S. senator. Explaining these votes could be uncomfortable for Obama, who has never been made to answer for his controversial decisions there.

In his race for the U.S. Senate, not a single negative ad was run against him either during the seven-way Democratic primary or in the general election, in good part because Republican Jack Ryan unexpectedly dropped out of the race after a court unsealed embarrassing divorce documents that were highly publicized by the media. As a result, Obama faced weak Republican candidate Alan Keyes, who was quickly came under attack from the media and was unable to act offensively in the campaign.

Now, basically untouched in these past political campaigns, Obama will likely flaunt his media-created image as a moderate Democrat capable of embracing both conservative and liberal ideals. But, as HUMAN EVENTS has shown in other articles, no matter what lip service Obama gives to conservative principles, at the end of the day he reliably comes down on the liberal side.

Below are some votes Obama made as a state legislator that pierce his moderate façade.

ABORTION

NO

SB 230 (1997)

To prohibit partial-birth abortion unless necessary to save the life of a mother and makes performance of the procedure a Class 4 felony for the physician.

NO

HB 709 (2000)

To prohibit state funding of abortion and induced miscarriages except when necessary to save the life of the mother. Excludes premature births from funding except to produce a viable child when necessary to save the life of a mother. Would permit funding in cases of rape or incest when payment is authorized under federal law.

NO

SB 1661 (2002)

A part of the Born Alive Infant Protection Package. Would create a cause of action of a child is born alive after an abortion and the child is then neglected through failure to provide medial care after birth.

CRIME

NO

SB 381 (1997)

To require prisoners to pay court costs for frivolous lawsuits against the state.

NO

SB 485 (1999)

To give no offer of "good time" for sex offenders sentenced to the County Jail.
*Obama was the only vote against this measure

UNIONS

YES

HB 3396 (2003)

To make unionization easier by not requiring a secret ballot to organize if 50% of the eligible workers publicly sign a card of support for unionization.

YES

SB 230 (2003)

Entitles a teacher who is elected as an officer of the state or national teacher’s union to be granted a leave of absence for up to six years, or the period of time the teacher is serving.

YES

SB 1070 (2003)

Allows college graduate assistants who teach college courses be eligible to join a union.

CHILD PROTECTION

PRESENT

SB 609 (2001)

To restrict the location of buildings with "adult" uses (meaning pornographic video stores, strip clubs, etc.) within 1,000 feet of any public or private elementary or secondary school, public park, place or worship, preschool, day-care facility, mobile park or residential area.

NO

HB 1812 (1999)

To require school boards to install software on public computers accessible to minors to block sexually explicit material.

TAXES

NO

SB 1075 (1999)

To create an income tax credit for all full-time K-12 pupils in an amount equal to 25% of qualified education expenses up to a maximum of $500 per family.

YES

SB 1725 (2003)

To restore the Illinois Estate Tax.

YES

SB 1733 (2003)

To impose a Gas Use Tax on the purchase of natural gas from outside the state of Illinois for use or consumption in Illinois. Forces the delivering supplier to pay 2.4 cents per therm of gas, or the customer can elect to become a "self-assessing" purchaser and pay 5% of the purchase price or 2.4 cents per therm.

ELECTIONS

YES

SB 1415 (2003)

To create public funding for supreme court races.

GAY RIGHTS

NOT VOTING

HB 581 (2003)

Allows domestic partners to be allowed to assume the rights of a spouse or survivor with regards to pension benefits under the Chicago Teacher’s pension system.

NO

SB 228 (1997)

Changes the "Illinois Equal Opportunity Act of 1997" to stipulate, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, any unit of government or school district that gives benefits to same-sex couples under any criteria must give equal benefits to heterosexual couples.

DRUGS

YES

SB 880 (2003)

To allow the purchase of 10 hypodermic needles from a pharmacy without a prescription.

PRESENT

HB 2000 (4659)

To establish a zero-tolerance drug-testing policy for Department of Corrections Employees

BUSINESS

NO

SB 777 (1999)

To end the unemployment insurance fund building tax.

NO

SB 879 (1999)

To end the minimum contribution tax rate for the unemployment system.

NO

SB 795 (2001)

To reduce employers’ minimum contribution insurance rate.

YES

SB 796 (2003)

To increase the Illinois minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.50 per hour.

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