Now That's Harsh

Liar, extremist, flip-flopper -- there's more than one way to skin a politician. But Hillary Clinton managed to come up with a new putdown when ...
by | January 17, 2008

Liar, extremist, flip-flopper -- there's more than one way to skin a politician. But Hillary Clinton managed to come up with a new putdown when she derided Barack Obama as (gasp!) "a part-time state senator." Here's the quote from the Las Vegas Review-Journal :

"He was a part-time state senator for a few years, and then he came to the Senate and immediately started running for president," she said. "And that's his prerogative. That's his right. But I think it is important to compare and contrast our records."

At first, I thought Clinton had it all wrong. The Illinois General Assembly is typically considered a full-time legislature, as NCSL's helpful primer on the subject indicates.

However, in Obama's particular case, the accusation appears to be true. While serving in Springfield, he was also a lecturer at the University of Chicago School of Law and, at least nominally, held a position with a law firm.

It seems slightly surreal to me that part-time state legislatures are a presidential campaign issue, even a minor one. If Obama responds by praising the tradition of part-time citizen lawmakers and Clinton fires back that full-time professional legislatures are essential given the complexity of contemporary state policy and the need to check the power of other branches of government, I'll know I'm dreaming.