THE BLOG

The Curious Myth of Hillary Clinton's Senate Effectiveness

05/25/2011 12:25 pm ET
  • Adam Hanft Political Columnist, CEO of Hanft Projects

Frankly, I'm tired of listening to Senator Clinton portray herself as being in the solutions business -- as boasting a nice, fat resume of accomplishments -- while mocking Barack Obama for being a rhetorical empty suit.

Is she truly a beacon of experience? Because I couldn't think of a single piece of legislation that has her name stuck proudly on the front of it, no equivalent of McCain-Feingold, for example, I headed straight for her campaign website to see what glorious aspects of her vaunted experience I was missing.

Actually, I was missing nothing. There is not one single example of any legislation with her name appended to it. In fact, the page devoted to her Senate biography is a mush-mash, a laundry list of good intentions. When she talks about "sponsoring" and "introducing" and "fighting for" legislation that obviously hasn't passed, that's a smokescreen for failure. By introducing all that legislation that never makes it out of committee, she's guilty of what she accuses Senator Obama of: confusing "hoping" with doing.

Consider these examples:

• "...{she} worked with her colleagues to secure the funds New York needed to recover and rebuild."

• "...she fought to provide compensation to the families of the victims."

• "She is an original sponsor of legislation that expanded health benefit to members of the National Guard and Reserves."

• "Some of Hillary' proudest achievements have been her work to ensure the safety of prescription drugs for children, with legislation now included in the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act." (What in God's name does that mumbo-jumbo mean?)

Yes, it's true that for many years, she was in the minority. But if she is the effective legislator she claims to be, she'd be able find co-sponsors across the aisle who share her commitment to specific issues, in the same way that John McCain found his doppelganger, Russ Feingold.

But an inability to get legislation passed is just the beginning of Senator Clinton's shallow record. For many of the bills she introduced, she couldn't even get a cosponsor in her own party!

Below are some perfectly fine, liberal, progressive bills that she introduced, but was unable to attract a cosponsor of any party, according to the Library of Congress.

Note that while her website proclaims that "She is an original sponsor of legislation that expanded health benefit to member of the National Guard and Reserves", she wasn't able to rustle up a single cosponsor for legislation that would have extended military retirement credit for National Guard Members called up after 9/11.

So Senator Clinton is right when she claims to be the experienced candidate, although it's not the experience she would like us to believe. It's a track record of legislative failure and futility.

89. S.4065 : A bill to direct the Attorney General to conduct a study on the feasibility of collecting crime data relating to the occurrence of school-related crime in elementary schools and secondary schools.
Sponsor: Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] (introduced 11/16/2006) Cosponsors (None)

88. S.4029 : A bill to increase the number of well-educated nurses, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] (introduced 9/29/2006) Cosponsors (None)

90. S.4103 : A bill to prevent nuclear terrorism, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] (introduced 12/7/2006) Cosponsors (None)

77. S.3909 : A bill to amend the foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide assistance for developing countries to promote quality basic education and to establish the achievement of universal basic education in all developing countries as an objective of United States foreign assistance policy, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] (introduced 9/18/2006) Cosponsors (None)

59. S.2993 : A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose a temporary oil profit fee and to use the proceeds of the fee collected to provide a Strategic Energy Fund and expand certain energy tax incentives, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] (introduced 5/23/2006) Cosponsors (None)

26. S.1144 : A bill to provide military retirement credit for certain service by National Guard members performed while in a State duty status immediately after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Sponsor: Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] (introduced 5/26/2005) Cosponsors (None)

50. S.2260 : A bill to amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to make improvements to payments to Medicare Advantage plans and to reinstate protections in the Medicaid program for working families, their children, and the disabled against excessive out-of-pocket costs, inadequate benefits, and health care coverage loss.
Sponsor: Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] (introduced 2/8/2006) Cosponsors (None)