Monday, March 29, 2004

Scott Turow on Barack Obama

Great cover story at by Scott Turow on Barack Obama

[Obama] may become the first black Democrat able to rise above race in the fashion of Powell and Rice, and in doing so become the embodiment of one of America’s most enduring dreams.


  1. Could we actually take a look at where the guy stands instead of just really liking his background. Everyone is so in love with his story I haven't seen much if any discusion about where he stands on things.

    For example Rick are you in favor of funding being taken away from Naperville schools to help schools in Carbondale?

  2. Where he stands on a few issues of interest to me:

    * Death penalty reform and civil liberties: his record on the death penalty reform issue (both his stance and his ability to shepherd a controversial and effective piece of legislation through a conflicted legislature) alone is enough to convince me he's right on both substance and style; but his broader approach to civil liberties assures me that he doesn't treat Constitutional protections as optional.

    * Same sex rights. Vis a vis Ryan, Obama's stance on this issue is far closer to my own.

    * Foreign policy. I want someone who recognizes the need (for our own self interest) for foreign bodies to be involved in peacekeeping and nationbuilding. In order to get their help at the end of the process (after the war is over) we need to involve them far earlier, and with more deliberation than dictation.

    There are other issues. And re: your question on educational funding. I'm not sure it's just a simple matter of funneling my property taxes to other jurisdictions; we are too reliant on property taxes as a revenue source when compared to the rest of the country. (For a good article on where Illinois ranks on this issue, see this article From 2/03 Governing Magazine.

    Simply re-allocating property taxes to solve the education problem seems like you're avoiding the hard problem. So - am I in agreement with Obama's position on this? Don't know (not clear on his stance particularly). Would love to see pointers... in the meantime, on the items that matter most to me and where the differences are clearest, Obama is an easy pick for me.

  3. He is closer to your views and I would have been surprised if you became a Ryan supporter.

    I guess my first point is a lot of folks seem to be in love with him because of his story. Look at the salon piece that has a lot about his backstory and not much about where he stands.

    Secondly as for school funding the last guy who tried to do something about it was Gov. Edgar (a Republican) and neither party nor the public as a whole had much of an interest.

    Today down in Springfield the Democrats control virtually all of the state officers as well as both houses and I have heard squat about changing school funding. If the Democrats really wanted to do something

    Moving to a less property tax dependant system sounds nice. In reallity it will end up increasing your income tax more than reducing your property taxes, especally places like Naperville because the state base funding amount would not meet local expectations.