Another Solid Example of Campaign Journalism: BHO vs. HRC on Voting Records

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


clinton_obama_130_140.gif Continuing our effort to encourage good campaign journalism by praising those who take the time to do it well (don’t worry—we slam those who do it poorly), we point you to the Guardian, which has done an excellent job of parsing the very small differences between Clinton’s and Obama’s voting records. To give you a sample…

Obama voted to ban cluster bombs, “which explode and scatter thousands of tiny weapons over a vast area.” Perhaps because cluster bombs were used unapologetically by Israel in its short war with Lebanon, and perhaps because banning such bombs would limit a commander’s options, Clinton voted to keep them.

Obama voted to rewrite the immigration law banning supporters of terrorism from gaining entry into the United States, in order to ensure that legitimate refugees were not being kept out. Clinton opposed such a rewrite.

Clinton voted for a measure that would allow law enforcement officials to seize citizens’ firearms if they saw fit after a national emergency. Obama voted to let people keep their guns. It was Obama’s single “pro-gun” vote in the Senate.

Clinton voted against the confirmation of Bush’s interior secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who had a 1% lifetime score on environmental policy from the League of Conservation Voters. Obama voted for confirmation.

There are some others as well. As you can see, these are minor differences. They are overshadowed by many, many more moments of agreement, which tells you that either the two candidates are very similar ideologically, or that they are simply party-line Democrats most of the time. I continue to argue that it is entirely legitimate for the press to report on how the candidates’ experiences, character, and approach to government differ, even though such reporting would not be “on the issues.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest