Making Pay Equity a Campaign Issue

On the list of speakers at the Democratic National Convention is Lilly Ledbetter, whose case before the Supreme Court led to a shameful 5-4 decision barring women from suing for unlawful wage discrimination unless they act within 180 days of the time the disparate pay started -- even if they don't learn until years later that all the male employees holding the same job had been given raises that female employees didn't receive. Ledbetter is in a good position to dramatize a point that needs to be made clearly: Republicans in general, and John McCain in particular, continue their history of hostility to legislation that provides a remedy for gender discrimination.

Obama was an original co-sponsor of the legislation to reverse the result in Ledbetter's case; McCain opposes the bill because, he said in April, it "opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems." Well, yes, that would be the point of a law prohibiting pay discrimination.

As Ruth Marcus writes, Lilly Ledbetter "puts a human face on a pocketbook issue." And it's an issue that tells us a good deal about the values our next president will hold.

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    This campaign is about personalities (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by myiq2xu on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:11:36 AM EST
    not issues.

    If we wanted a campaign about issues, we would nominate Hillary.

    If we wanted to win, we would nominate Hillary

    And if we wanted a candidate (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Cream City on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:19:18 AM EST
    who made this a campaign issue long ago, we would have listened to the one who actually spoke forcefully for it on the Senate floor.  Not one who was just another of several co-sponsors and only decides it's convenient to do more now.

    So it's good to see it talked about again.  But some of us have been listening for a long time to see who would talk about it from the start.  That means more.


    If you want to make it a campaign about issues (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:38:15 AM EST
    start talking about issues and stop talking about the past.

    I think you should tell that to your (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:45:24 AM EST

    The Democratic candidate (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:51:51 AM EST
    has talked about this issue repeatedly.  This post is about a serious campaign issue; it isn't about the primaries and it isn't about personalities.

    Nobody has done more... (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by LatinoVoter on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:56:50 AM EST
    Have a link to show that he's talked about this issue repeatedly?

    Click the third link in the post. (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:06:53 PM EST
    Obama was making this an issue two months ago.

    Thanks -- I missed that link (none / 0) (#38)
    by Cream City on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:15:16 PM EST
    and do recall now that Obama did a meetup with working women in Albuquerque and saw your post then, linked here.  That was good, and it nudges me a bit.  

    Now I hope he meets up with working women and/or speaks out on this repeatedly (not just twice:-).

    And if he becomes more clear about what the heck he means on abortion, it will nudge me more.  As of now, his comments on involving husbands and ministers and being below the pay grade to talk about it have only caused me more concern.  He gets darn good pay as a Senator compared to mine, and I'm paying him.  And I'm capable of talking about it.


    Hey Cream (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:34:56 PM EST
    Although I find it bizarre to be defending Obama, I'm going to say two things here:  

    1. Yes, he keeps stupidly saying things about husbands and ministers when he talks about abortion rights, but he did clearly and unequivocally say "I am pro-choice" at the Saddleback travesty, and McCain did clearly and unequivocally say "I will be a pro-life President" at the same event. That counts, in my book. It was a hostile crowd.

    2. On the 'above my pay grade' comment -- IMO, it was a poor choice of words that will be distorted and will haunt him, but in essence, I can't fault him for the sentiment. I mean, who among us, thinks we can be the moral arbiter of when life begins? It's kind of above all our pay grades, no?

    Anyway, that's all I got to say.

    He wasn't asked about (none / 0) (#71)
    by samanthasmom on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:43:02 PM EST
    when life begins. I would understand why a religious person would leave that answer to his personal god. He was asked when a fetus is accorded human rights. That's a question the leader of our country needs to be able to answer.

    What a pro-choice should answer (none / 0) (#76)
    by Prabhata on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:49:20 PM EST
    I would say to that question: "At conception, but the rights of the mother and fetus are intertwined and cannot be separated."

    Thanks I see that link now. (none / 0) (#69)
    by LatinoVoter on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:40:40 PM EST
    Was he making it an issue pre becoming the soon to be nominee? Or is the repeatedly making a campaign issue since the primary ended in June?

    Here You Go (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:17:59 PM EST
    Thanks for the link. (none / 0) (#65)
    by LatinoVoter on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:37:58 PM EST
    I see that he spoke about it once pre-primary.

    I Think That Was During the PA Primary (none / 0) (#74)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:46:45 PM EST
    since it was a town hall in Harrisburg.

    I'll bet he spoke other times about it during the primary season and also last year in the run up to them. These are just the three I selected from a fast google search.


    Yeh. I've been watching for it (none / 0) (#26)
    by Cream City on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:03:26 PM EST
    and must have missed it repeatedly from Obama before, too.  So I second your call for more info.

    Because if he really has repeatedly called for the Fair Pay Act of 2008 aka Lilly Ledbetter Bill and done even half as much as Clinton did on this, it could make a difference in what I do in fall.  This one is personal for me, my daughter, my friends, and many more of us who have been where Lilly was.

    And we know which ones in Congress were with us then, even before this Supreme Court ruling.  Repeatedly.


    We don't exist in a vacumn (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:45:41 AM EST
    The past plays a part. Alot of folks said it was a mistake to not make this campaign about issues. Backtracking isn't nearly as easy as getting it right the first time.

    Funny, I missed the part where the delegates (none / 0) (#59)
    by myiq2xu on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:35:01 PM EST
    voted already.

    I thought the convention was next week.


    C'mon.... (none / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:32:21 PM EST
    Are you seriously suggesting that Clinton isn't a cult of personality unto herself?

    If this thing was about issues Ralph Nader would win in a landslide....but this thing is about the style of wool being pulled over our eyes for the next for years.  It's professional wrestling...a staged excercise in make-believe.


    In a related article: (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:16:58 AM EST
    McCain, Clinton Pay Women Better than Obama

    With charts.

    The average pay for women who worked on the Senate staff of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of Illinois was at least $6,000 below the average pay for men working on Obama's staff. This held true whether the average pay was calculated for all of Obama's staff, only for his non-intern staff, or only for his staff making more than $23,000 on an annual basis. Obama employed slightly more males than females.

    Does it compare their length of service (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:21:20 AM EST
    with each or is it just a propaganda piece without putting the number relative to how much work is, was and has been required cumulatively.

    Um (none / 0) (#10)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:42:19 AM EST
    did you read the article?  

    yeah (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:53:19 AM EST
    I did. The question was rhetorical. There is ALOT of info missing to make a determination on whether or not McCain is indeed better when it comes to women and pay. I don't think we do women any favors(myself included)when we treat this issue lightly and make it into some diametric contest. I am willing to cede Obama has the right position on this issue. That said, I am going to call him out for telling me I should consult with a pastor before making a determination about what to do with MY body or for insinuating that while in the WH all Hillary did was hold tea parties. It was and is insulting if that is what he believes.

    Please (none / 0) (#22)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:58:47 AM EST
    detail the info missing.

    So let me get this straight... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:24:59 AM EST
    Another example would be Bush putting more AAs in cabinet positions than his predecessors. That would make B. Clinton more of a racist? No, it wouldn't.

    I gotta (none / 0) (#12)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:44:08 AM EST
    ask you; what is your definition of racism?  

    Let's see (none / 0) (#32)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:09:19 PM EST
    there is no discussion about time of service with the Senate office whatsoever. I do believe Senator McCain has been around a tiny bit longer than Barack Obama and perhaps his staffers may have been as well.

    Length of service has always affected my pay.


    The article does not compare (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by samanthasmom on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:17:19 PM EST
    the pay Obama's staff gets compared to Senator McCain's. It's Obama's female staff to Obama's male staff. The fact that McCain has been a senator longer is irrelevant.

    Length of service (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:19:07 PM EST
    is relevant. If I am employed for longer in a particular field I get paid better.

    Let's see (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:03:45 PM EST
    you are saying: since Obama has been a senator less than six years, then he can pay his female staffers less than male staffers?  OK, I get it.  

    This isn't that complicated.. (none / 0) (#104)
    by rjarnold on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:51:11 PM EST
    He isn't talking about how Obama was a Senator for less time than McCain, he is talking about how some of the staffers have been working for less time than others.

    The article doesn't say whether or not Obama pays women less than men if they have the same position. It doesn't say whether or not the female staffers that may have been paid less have been working for less than the male ones. It just has averages for all the people regardless of what their positions are (classifying the workers as interns and non-interns isn't enough).

    The bottomline is that the article doesn't have enough info to conclude that Obama is unfair to female staffers (even though the title insinuates it).


    By the way, (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:36:14 AM EST
    Obama IS right on this issue but it isn't going to matter because of how he has run his campaign thus far. You can't insinuate Hillary's "experience" boiled down to tea parties. tell women they should consult with the men in their lives if pregnancy pops up and expect to come up as a champion of women's rights. We just aren't that stupid. The only thing that will save Obama with this constituency is an individual who is a staunch supporter in word and deed of women's rights. This ought to be a no brainer. THAT is Hillary Clinton.

    Actually, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:40:39 AM EST
    Hillary Clinton IS a staunch supporter of Barack Obama.

    She ain't his VP (none / 0) (#21)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:57:08 AM EST
    and unless it is her or someone like her with a record of word and deed when it comes to women's issues then all the cheerleading from Hillary will mean nothing(speaking for myself). His record regarding women is less than stellar and I don't find his rhethoric encouraging or his potential VP pick.

    This post is not about the VP (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:03:12 PM EST
    It is about a serious issue that most of the comments have chosen to ignore. Do you favor Obama's position on the Equal Pay Act or McCain's?  

    I favor Obama's (4.00 / 1) (#36)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:14:47 PM EST
    I've made that clear. That said, I found the misogynistic way Hillary was treated by the Democratic party(Obama included) offensive. I am measuring ALL words and deeds not just this particular one. For that reason, Obama is in trouble regarding women's issues and I think Obama will have problem getting traction with this particular tactic. Women aren't political pawns that can be manipulated.

    I am sick of this lie (5.00 / 5) (#33)
    by samtaylor2 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:09:49 PM EST
    Obama is a proud support of choice, has a incredibly good rating on this issue, has gotten behind law and sponsored it.  He has talked about equal rights for women and breaking the glass ceiling for women.  In fact I would venture to say he talks about this more then civil rights effecting AA. If I said the same thing about Clinton and race, which I would never do, because it is just factually untrue (as is this), I would be called a troll.  These are the lies that are dividing our party.  

    Not supporting Obama is your choice, but spreading lies about him, and in effect propping up his anti choice, anti- women's rights, anti- civil rights opponent, is not right.


    This is my view also samtaylor2. (none / 0) (#39)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:16:34 PM EST
    If people don't want to vote for BHO, that's fine. What gets me are the lies. If a lot of the O camp/supporters are liars, then few on the other side are any better.

    On the contrary (none / 0) (#51)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:27:32 PM EST
    If I don't vote for Obama it will be HIS fault, not mine.

    The problem is how you define choice is different then how I define it. Using the BOYZ definition of choice I could say that I am giving women a choice when I say don't have sex(or ask for it by wearing provocative clothing) or you will be forced to have a baby. I mean after all that is choice.

    Furthermore, if he is so pro choice why in the world would he choose a running mate who is on the record as an advocate of LIMTING women's choices? It's bad enough when something happens in the third trimester(and I can pretty safely say that women who make it that far WANTED to be pregnant because no one in their right mind puts up with the puking and the swelling and having their body leached of vitamins if they didn't))but having a politician say "hey, I don't care if it will increase the risk of hemorrhage or perforation of her uterus, too bad" that's just beyond revolting(and that is exactly what TIM KAine is saying every time he says he supports the partial birth bill).


    Actually I agree on the VP choice meme, (none / 0) (#57)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:34:55 PM EST
    what I object to is the lying about O's positions from all sides or perspectives. But yeah, his VP choice should draw praise/criticism on the issues. I got the impression you were speaking of O's commitment even before he chose a running mate. I apologize.

    No problem (none / 0) (#68)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:40:31 PM EST
    I take my responsibility as a voter gravely. I am carefully weighing it all and listening to ALL the arguments being laid out.

    I feel for Obama because time is running short for him to convince me that voting for him is far more important than sending the message to the DNC that it doesn't get to manipulate democracy for its own means.


    No (none / 0) (#41)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:17:26 PM EST
    a proud supporter of choice doesn't seek to limit a woman's options. Furthermore he doesn't choose a running mate who is on the record as supporting one of the most egregious bits of GOP chicanery regarding choice(partial birth).

    McCain v. Obama (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:23:15 PM EST
    Obama supports choice, McCain doesn't.  NARAL:  "Sen. Obama is fully pro-choice."  Planned Parenthood Action Fund:  ""He is a passionate advocate for women's rights, and has a long and consistent record of standing up for women's health care."  Given the choice between McCain and Obama, there is no choice if you care about the issue.

    TChris, I don't think you (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by samanthasmom on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:33:34 PM EST
    understand. We're not choosing McCain over Obama. We're choosing neither. Both of them need to win without us. If this were a pro-McCain site, we'd all be picking on him. We understand that they have different positions. I think you're the one who doesn't get it. No deal - to either candidate.

    I guess that (none / 0) (#53)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:31:32 PM EST
    depends on what your definition of supporting choice is. If your definition means votes present for political cover or has a potential running mate willing to limit the options because he personally does not like abortion then "yeah, he supports choice."

    I personally am not much into lip service. I measure words and deeds. It isn't MY fault that Sanator Obama has come up wanting.


    Of course, (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:37:42 PM EST
    you are free to disagree with Planned Parenthood and NARAL, the experts in the field, but that doesn't explain why, in an election between a candidate who takes the mainstream position (abortion should be safe and legal) versus a candidate who takes the extreme position (abortion should be outlawed and that should be a litmus test for Supreme Court judges), pro-choice voters should either vote for a third party candidate who can't win, vote for McCain, or not vote at all.  That position does nothing to advance abortion rights.

    'Potential Running Mate' (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:38:46 PM EST
    Okay, this does get ridiculous.

    Let's wait until he actually picks an unobjectionable running mate, and THEN criticize his choice.

    It won't be long now...


    His Record Regarding Women (5.00 / 5) (#50)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:25:11 PM EST
    'Less than stellar'?

    What does that mean?

    He's not HRC so he's not good enough?

    Fine. I appreciate it when you say that. That's honest.

    But to imply he's weak on women's issues--especially when the alternative at this point is McCain--is pure nonsense.


    He's not McCain (4.00 / 1) (#55)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:33:04 PM EST
    ain't gonna cut it. If Obama wants my vote he's going to have to fight for it. This is a start but I assure you it is no way going to be my sole requirement. He'd better get cracking he's only got a few months left.

    I'm Not Trying to Persuade You (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:50:06 PM EST
    to vote for Obama.

    I'm trying to get you to stop distorting his record on women's issues.


    I'm not distorting his record (none / 0) (#81)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:58:43 PM EST
    I am preparing to do battle on what the definition of pro choice is. I will share with you what I feel it isn't. It isn't voting "present" for political cover and it isn't picking a running mate that has gone on the record as being for the partial birth travesty. Pro choice means supporting a woman's right to choose, not limit because it is a politically expedient hot potato or because your personal faith is offended by the idea of abortion.

    Is There A Centimeter's Difference (none / 0) (#86)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:10:07 PM EST
    between Obama and Clinton votes on choice issues in the senate?

    My sense is that there is not. Maybe I'm wrong and you could correct me.

    Choice is a breaking point for me and I am very sensitive to any deviation from it in the politicians I support. I don't support politicians who don't support a woman's right to choose. My former governor, Mario Cuomo is a good example of a man whose religious beliefs conflicted with a pro choice position and yet he was a staunch advocate for a woman's right to make her own decisions about her own body.

    I have seen nothing in Obama's public positions to worry me. Nothing at all that even makes me wonder if I should worry.

    I'll criticize his VP choice after he's announced it.


    Yeah there is (none / 0) (#90)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:25:35 PM EST
    but I'm not going to spend hours enumerating the differences. You'll just have to use google.

    As I said, putting someone on your short list means that people get the right to criticize. I'm sorry if you don't like that but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


    Not A Centimeter's Difference Then (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:40:59 PM EST
    According to my research.

    Again, I have NO problem with you or anyone else criticizing Obama. I do it myself--though not usually here.

    He's a politician. It's every voter's right--nay, responsibility--to hold them to their standards.


    But he is much more then (none / 0) (#63)
    by samtaylor2 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:36:41 PM EST
    Not McCain.  I agree just not being someone else is not good enough.  But he DOES have a strong history of supporting choice.  Jesus, they are attacking him for supporting infanticide as we speak.

    Of course, she is. (none / 0) (#30)
    by Cream City on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:07:50 PM EST
    The question is whether this can make more staunch supporters for Obama.  So the question is whether he will be as staunchly supportive of this bill as Clinton has been -- she spoke on the floor for it, she took Ledbetter on the campaign trail, etc.

    So it is very good to see this come up again with this candidate.  But the question is whether it will come up and again and again if he wins.  And on that question, we look for a record of staunch support, not just coming up in late August amid much more attention to veepstakes, polls, etc.  Some of us have seen before that timing matters.


    If McCain is elected (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:15:09 PM EST
    the bill, if passed, will be vetoed.  Again, this isn't about primary candidates, this is about Obama v. McCain.  The differences could not be more sharply drawn.

    Agreed on that. And that is why (none / 0) (#42)
    by Cream City on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:17:29 PM EST
    I'm working for more Dems in Congress.  We will need them with either of these guys.  That we may need them more with one than with the other is a point, but the main cause for me is enough either way.

    I ought to add not just any Dems (none / 0) (#45)
    by Cream City on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:18:40 PM EST
    for Congress, since the DNC has shown me well before this campaign not to trust its picks such as Casey.

    Hear here (none / 0) (#60)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:35:39 PM EST

    The dems aided and abetted on partial birth. They stood by quietly with their collective thumbs up their butt when the SC said that BCP's didn't need to be carried on business formularies and now they are going to call themselves the collective champions of women? Hah.


    Ruth Marcus' entire article should be read, (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:45:08 AM EST
    but these passages really stood out for me (emphasis is mine:

    Now, a bill to fix this equal pay Catch-22 is pending in Congress -- and the Ledbetter case has emerged as a key piece of Obama's effort to woo women. In particular, working women, less-educated women, older women. Women who voted for a certain woman and haven't come around to the guy who defeated her.


    Hence, the appeal of Ledbetter as a campaign issue. For all the fuss over a roll-call vote for Hillary Clinton at the convention, worrying about such logistics was to some extent a luxury indulged in by women who don't have to worry about how to afford the next tank of gas. Ledbetter, by contrast, puts a human face on a pocketbook issue. "This is an issue that really demonstrates you're in touch with women's lives," Lake said.


    The Obama campaign has asked Clinton to talk about Ledbetter when she campaigns for him. Obama, who didn't focus much on the issue during the primary campaign, hosted a meeting Monday on pay equity; the campaign released a memo contrasting Obama and McCain on women's issues. As I sat down to write this column, an e-mail arrived from the Democratic convention announcing that Ledbetter would be speaking there. Which probably puts her off the veep list, but you never know.

    Now, there were 44 co-sponsors of the bill Ted Kennedy introduced, and 14 of those co-sponsors signed on the same day: 7/20/07.  Among them were Obama, Clinton, Leahy, Dodd, and even Arlen Specter.

    Note that this bill and the issue it addresses have not been something Obama has been passionate about, or worked hard for in either the primary or the general election, and Marcus, probably inadvertently, reveals it as nothing so much as a craven tool with which to lure the demographic with which Obama lags.  It's just like health care, where there simply does not seem to be an actual interest in doing anything about it - you know, working on it - it's nothing more than an empty talking point.

    And this is why so many of us see Obama as lacking; he fails to put his money where his mouth is over and over again, and I , at least, have no reason to expect that he will work these issues should he be elected.

    [And may I just add, Ruth Marcus can bite me.  One gratuitous slam after another at Clinton renders her just another blinded-by-CDS hack who completely misses the real issues.]

    Do you support the bill or not? (none / 0) (#19)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:55:39 AM EST
    Because McCain doesn't.  Are you on McCain's side on this issue?

    Of course I support the bill, and I am (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:05:51 PM EST
    not taking McCain's side on it, for heaven's sake.

    My point, and one that seems to be in Marcus' article, is that I do not see Obama's interest in this issue as extending beyond his ability to use it to woo women voters.  You say he has talked about this repeatedly - and my response to that is that throwing it in with a laundry list of other issues in a stump speech is not the same thing as putting his head down and his nose to the grindstone and working all corners of the system to advance the cause.  Do you see Obama as being that kind of president - the same guy who blew off an important committee assignment so he could campaign for president?

    Inviting Lily Ledbetter to speak at the convention is a great way to highlight the inequities that still exist, but I know, as do many who comment here, that it will not be Obama who breaks a sweat working for pay equity - it will be people like Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray and Barbara Boxer.

    It's not the issue I have a problem with, it's trying to paint Obama as some kind of workhorse for it.  He's once again running to the head of the line and claiming he was there the whole time - I'm so over that, you have no idea.


    There are only two candidates (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:11:18 PM EST
    who have a chance to be elected.  One favors changing the law to protect pay equity and the other doesn't.  Obama, like Clinton, co-sponsored the bill. A vote for Obama will further pay equity; a vote for McCain won't.  Criticize Obama all you want, that's what this election comes down to ... on this and a host of other issues.

    Didn't Obama oppose (5.00 / 4) (#80)
    by Radix on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:53:41 PM EST
    the "new" FISA amendment before voting for it, for political gain? Didn't he also oppose off shore drilling before he supported it, for political gain? You can't truthfully say this bill will pass under Obama, considering his track record, all you can really say is that he, Obama, will support this bill,if he's the Prez, if it politically benefits him.

    You Can Say (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:12:04 PM EST
    it has no chance being signed by a President McCain, and a much better chance under a President Obama.

    Accepted, my point of contention (none / 0) (#89)
    by Radix on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:23:23 PM EST
    was the certitude of Obama's signing, rather than anything else.

    It is a near certainty (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:06:02 PM EST
    that he would sign into law a bill he co-sponsored.

    This is a false choice fallacy. (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by my opinion on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:18:18 PM EST
    This is just like the republicans did where any comment against the Iraq war was countered with, "do you support the terrorists?" and "why don't you support the troops?."

    Not a false choice. (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:27:01 PM EST
    The choice is to vote for Obama, vote against Obama, or not to vote.  The second and third options increase the likelihood of a McCain victory, a disastrous series of Supreme Court appointments, and endless vetoes of legislation enacted by Democrats.  

    Yep, it is. The problem is your assumption that (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by my opinion on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:49:11 PM EST
    the commenter is saying any of things you say just because the commenter doesn't feel Obama will work much on this specific issue if elected.

    The choice (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:57:45 PM EST
    is between Obama or McCain.  There are no realistic alternatives.  My post is about two candidates who take opposite positions regarding equal pay legislation.  The choice between them is not a false choice; it is the only choice we have.  Whatever people may think about Obama or the strength of his commitment to this issue (despite his co-sponorship of the bill), the choice remains:  we have one candidate who supports equal pay legislation and one who doesn't.

    But you comment was in response (none / 0) (#109)
    by my opinion on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 03:14:30 PM EST
    to Anne's comment, not the original post. This has nothing to do with your opinions, just pointing out a commonly used false choice.

    Democratic legislation? (none / 0) (#100)
    by Emma on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:34:14 PM EST
    Since the Dems couldn't enact the Fair Pay Act, it hardly matters who the President is since he never had to sign or veto it.

    Democratic support of the Fair Pay Act would mean a LOT more to me if they could get the d*mn thing out of the Senate.  What did Obama do about that?


    He co-sponsored and supported it, (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:42:00 PM EST
    just like Hillary.  McCain opposed it.  If there is an enemy on this issue, it is McCain, not Obama.

    I'm not saying he's an enemy (none / 0) (#105)
    by Emma on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:54:50 PM EST
    I'm saying he's a pretty ineffective ally.  Just like every other Dem who couldn't get the Bill out of the Senate.

    What does it mean the McCain will veto a bill and Obama will sign a bill that never makes it out of the Senate?  Sign the bill?  Show you can get the d*mn thing out of Congress.  If you can't do that, who cares how eager you are to sign it?  

    If I thought Obama's leadership was going to get this bill out of Congress and onto his desk as President, then I'd care about his support of the bill.  I've seen no indication that that's going to happen.  Point me to Obama's leadership on this issue, or to his leadership on ANY issue that's passed a bill or moved legislation through Congress to the President's desk.  This bill is about more than this bill.  Sure, he's right on this issue.  But I see no indication that he's got the leadership skills to make sure that him being right on the issue will make a d*mn bit of difference.


    I am not on McCain's side on this issue. (none / 0) (#35)
    by samanthasmom on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:11:52 PM EST
    However, he is not afraid to surround himself with high-powered women, and his record shows that he pays the women on his staff equitably. Obama has said in the past that sometimes you vote against a bill whose premise you agree with, but there are some details in the bill that could be better. Voting against the bill gets you an opportunity to help pass an even better one. I would like to hear why John McCain does not support the bill before I condemn him for it. I always offer Senator Obama the same courtesy when he and I disagree on how to vote.

    McCain's reason (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:17:55 PM EST
    for opposing the bill is directly quoted in the post.  It's a frivolous reason that relies on a knee-jerk "lawsuits are bad" mantra that Republicans have been chanting for years.

    My comment was snark. (none / 0) (#62)
    by samanthasmom on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:36:40 PM EST
    It was reflective of the reasons that Obama uses for voting "present".

    McCain also said something incredibly (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:36:11 PM EST
    stupid when this decision came down, along the lines of women having a problem being paid equally because they needed more training.

    McCain is like most Republicans, who believe people having access to the judicial system and the courts to seek redress for their grievances is a horror that needs to end, lest we interfere with the great corporate machine that is driving the economy.  Putting corporation-friendly judges on the bench helps with this, as you might imagine.

    In my mind, there simply is no justification for putting the onus on the employee to identify the company's failure to fairly compensate that employee, especially in companies where you can be fired for even discussing how much you are paid.  How are people supposed to know the company is not acting in good faith, and why should the employee be denied redress because he or she did not learn of it within some defined time period?

    No, McCain gave a knee-jerk, tone-deaf and stupid response, and I would not expect you to unearth a better one from him anytime soon.


    In fact (5.00 / 5) (#15)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:45:40 AM EST
    I have a conservative colleague at work - a straight-up Reagan Republican - who felt this had to be one of the most outrageous Supreme Court decisions of all time.  So yeah, I'd say there's some good potential to use this as a campaign issue.

    BTD and I have discussed in the past the fact that Democrats get clobbered time and time again on the issue of judges because we're just so awful at framing a coherent message.  Let's contrast how the two sides handle things.

    A year or two ago, Justice Kennedy made a passing reference to international law in a decision, and the entire right wing went berserk.  All the talk shows went on and on about it.  Millions of emails and direct mailers went out talking about how outrageous this was, and how we need to retake the Supreme Court before they make us all submit to their liberal vision of a one-world government, blah blah blah.

    Then you have the Ledbetter decision on equal pay, which could have been an equal cause celebre for the left.  What did we get?  A few blog posts about it?  The Democrats tried to introduce a bill to reverse the decision, which the Republicans blocked, and that's the end of the story.  Unlike the Republican grassroots, who know all about every single one of Justice Kennedy's outrages, 95% of our voters have no clue about this equal pay decision.  We do a very, very poor job of getting the word out, let alone framing these decisions within a narrative about what GOP-appointed judges will do to working men and women.

    We got a great speech on the floor (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Cream City on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:00:16 PM EST
    of the Senate on this, that's what we got.  From Clinton, of course.  (It's on youtube, but cutting and pasting isn't working on my computer just now -- too many files open that I'm working on. . . .)

    And we got Clinton standing publicly with Ledbetter during the campaign.  And, and, and . . . we got the presumptive nominee we got, because the powers-that-be in the DNC are drinking latte instead of beer chasers.


    Oh CC (none / 0) (#79)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:52:10 PM EST
    It's a lovely day today in the Cream City, isn't it?  I'm sitting on the 18th floor of an office building, overlooking this lovely river that you have flowing through town and the slightly less lovely interstate that runs alongside it.  If you look out the window, maybe you can see me waving at you. :)

    It's because we can't keep it simple (none / 0) (#24)
    by eric on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:02:10 PM EST
    Just look at McCain's response to why he doesn't support the bill - "it opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems".  Simple and effective.  Every good American knows that there are too many lawsuits and lawsuits are bad, so McCain is golden on this one.

    Sure, if you really look at the issue, people are likely to agree with the Dems.  But once you start talking about facts and legal precedent and overruling decisions and stuff, Americans will doze right off.

    The Justice Kennedy thing resonates, I think, because of American Exceptional ism.  Every good American knows that America is the best and it is therefore blasphemy to cite foreign law.  These people don't even understand what the context of Kennedy's decision was, and it doesn't matter.  He cited to a foreign authority.  Gasp!


    Right (none / 0) (#78)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:50:47 PM EST
    and yet the Republicans manage to do it all the time.  Somehow they get millions of voters outraged over something that you would have seen as totally inconsequential.  Maybe there's a lesson to be learned.

    Of course this will not get successfully made into a major campaign issue, but that's the whole point.  The reason it won't is because we didn't successfully lay the groundwork for it, we didn't do the things you have to do to publicize the outrage when it happens, we didn't fit it into a narrative about Republican judges, and now here we are 3 months before an election trying to make it a major issue out of the blue.  Of course it's not going to work at this point, but if we ever learn these lessons we can do a much better job of making Ledbetter-style issues relevant in the next cycle and beyond.  The Republicans do it with no problem.


    The Republicans are (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Radix on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:10:01 PM EST
    are get their message out, because they invested heavily in the infrastructure to do so. I would point you to Clearwater Radio and the Faux news channel. Not to mention the co-opting of the printed media as well.

    Yes (none / 0) (#95)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:45:39 PM EST
    One of the things we used to talk about in the progressive blogosphere - back before we decided that electing Barack Obama was the entirety of what the progressive movement was about - was the notion of constructing a progressive infrastructure that could compete with the right-wing noise machine and accomplish some of the things they do.

    Obviously the party of big business is going to have an advantage in these things, but that doesn't mean our task is impossible, it just makes it harder.  For example, Republicans have historically been very successful in using direct mail as a tool to reach the grassroots.


    Hopefully (none / 0) (#110)
    by samtaylor2 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 03:22:27 PM EST
    The get out the vote infrastructure that is being put in place can be used for this.  I would be very interested to see what the plan keep this in place, and what progressives can do if anything to take advantage of it, outside of the Democratic party.

    I also think one of the reasons that the Republicans can get people out on these issues, is their point of view is simple.  Democrats on the other hand support choice- which is by its nature more complicated then conception starts at birth.


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Steve M on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:42:37 PM EST
    It is not intuitively clear to me that the issue of equal pay is significantly more trivial than the issue of whether Justice Kennedy happened to reference international law in an opinion.

    Sure, abortion is an easy issue to get people worked up about.  But that's why I didn't use abortion as an example.  I believe I'm comparing apples to apples here.

    I think most working people would be upset to find out that the Supreme Court said you only have 180 days to sue for pay discrimination, even if you have no idea what your coworkers are making or that you're being discriminated against in the first place.  But they don't even know about this, because we don't do what we have to as a political party and as a movement to get the word out.

    It's not that people hear about it and are unmoved, it's that people don't hear about it.  You seem to be under the impression that I'm arguing that Barack Obama should suddenly start making the Ledbetter decision the focus of his stump speech tomorrow and everything will be fine.  If you would actually address the points I'm making - which, get this, didn't use guns, gays, OR God as an example - we'd probably have a better discussion.


    I agree with this (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by CST on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:49:59 PM EST
    "I think most working people would be upset to find out that the Supreme Court said you only have 180 days to sue for pay discrimination"

    When I brought this case up among people I know, the vast majority had never heard of it, and all of them were very pissed off after-the-fact.  Including the male republicans.  I think the problem is they never hear about this stuff.


    What in the blazes am I reading here? (5.00 / 5) (#31)
    by steviez314 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:09:03 PM EST
    This blog entry is about an issue on which Democrats are right and Republicans, including John McCain are wrong.  And that must be made clear and strong continuously.

    And yet, 90% of the comments just devolve into the usual Hillary vs Obama stuff.  Barely a mention of McCain and Republicans.

    It's like on the eve of World War II, and the North and South are still debating over whether they should fight together.

    What you are reading here is anger (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:19:05 PM EST
    from people who know how much work needs to go into all the issues that matter - not just pay equity, but health care, and privacy rights and reproductive rights, among others - and we do not see Obama as being all that interested in leveraging his position to move these issues in the right direction.

    He wants to win.  Yes, we know winning is the first step in making these things happen, but winning isn't the end of the fight, it's the beginning; it only gets harder and harder each step of the way, and Obama has not shown himself to be all that enamored of actual hard work.

    We know who the workhorse is.  We know to whom these issues matter.

    It isn't Obama, who on issue after issue, has shown that he is willing to compromise and give in right from the get-go.  Why should we believe or trust that what he says on this issue will be backed up by more than rhetoric?


    Because... (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by steviez314 on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:24:48 PM EST
    right now, that's all you and I have got.

    We can believe and trust that Obama will do the right thing (or pressure him when he's elected) or be 100% certain that nothing good will happen under McCain.

    That may not be the way we wanted it to be, but as my favorite phrase goes "it is what it is."


    Anger doesn't (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by TChris on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:29:08 PM EST
    get us any closer to "making these things happen."  If McCain wins, we will be much farther from making any of these things happen.  Addressing anger toward the only remaining candidate who has any chance of furthering progressive causes simply fuels McCain's candidacy.

    Well, rolling over and pretending to be (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:48:12 PM EST
    happy, and being willing to settle for mediocrity because that's all we have, is no way to ensure improvement in the pool of progressive candidates - it does nothing except weaken the progressive movement and our progressive goals.

    And please, I am really tired of being made to feel like I am helping McCain by being vocal about expressing why I think Obama is a terrible choice, and why I believe he will break the hearts of those progressives who still believe he will further the cause, and will end up breaking the back of the movement itself.

    Pushing through weak candidates like Obama for reasons that have little to do with the progressive movement is why someone as abysmal on the issues as John McCain is looking more and more like he can prevail in November.  

    And that is not my fault.


    BO has never faught for equal pay (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Prabhata on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:40:08 PM EST
    So why should I believe that he will make that an important agenda issue?  That's why policy talk doesn't work for BO.  He's never had a policy that he can point to and say, "I feel strongly about yada".  Nope.  This campaign is about Obama.

    Evidence Disputes Your Claims (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:43:26 PM EST
    right here in this very thread.

    Supporting a bill (none / 0) (#82)
    by Prabhata on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:59:37 PM EST
    does not qualify as a life long support for an issue.  FISA is a perfect example.  BO threw that under the bus because he didn't care about the issue like Dodd.  BO has never fought for an issue because it burns in his belly.  To say I'll vote for a guy because he put his name on a bill is not to understand what an election is about.  Candidates say what they need to say to win.  I look at the candidate and what he/she fights for to know what issues will be on his/her agenda.  BO has nothing that says he will be a certain kind of politician.  I don't trust anything he says.

    'Life Long Support' ? (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:21:03 PM EST
    You set a very high threshold for a political campaign. Still, I have no reason to doubt, based on what I know of his biography and stated positions, that pay equity is something he has long believed in. I've seen nothing to refute that.

    But if you 'don't trust anything [Obama] says' then discussion is pointless. I'm not here to convince anyone anything about him.

    But I would dispute your ability (or mine, for that matter) to know whether any issue ever 'burned in his belly'. I believe he is as passionate about his values as any other candidate even if he is not promoting an image of himself as 'a fighter'.


    The problem is that (none / 0) (#93)
    by samanthasmom on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:38:00 PM EST
    the only passion that I am sure that Obama has is that religion belongs in government. I think I can take that one to the bank. I don't like that one at all. I also think that it is his religiosity that makes me question how he will choose what he will fight for no matter what he might say to get elected. I guess I just don't trust a member of the "god squad". A person who is of quiet faith I can handle.

    I Agree With You About the 'God Squad' (none / 0) (#106)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 02:55:01 PM EST
    But I question whether there are no other explanations than his own passion to explain Obama's reaching into faith realms during this campaign.

    One is that he is executing a pragmatic (some here might say cynical) political maneuver doing outreach to a community where he wants to pluck a few votes away from McCain.

    But honestly, even though I support his candidacy, I can't read his mind, even less any burning in his belly, and, with all due respect, I doubt anyone's ability to do so except maybe his wife and a few close associates.

    But I understand where you're coming from. We all use a certain amount of our own gut reactions to choose what candidates we give our support to. Clearly, Obama has not done what it takes to win yours.


    Obama (none / 0) (#6)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 11:30:03 AM EST
    can't take the moral high ground on equality when he has a potential VP that won't even make a case for equality for minorities like gays? If it's Kaine, it won't matter if this is trotted out, I won't vote for them.

    Fairness Dictates (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:41:51 PM EST
    We wait until Obama actually picks Kaine, before we criticize him for Kaine's positions.

    Hey (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by cawaltz on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:06:25 PM EST
    I'm not the one leaking he's on a short list. He wants the political advantage of a Virginia governor. Well, it cuts both ways.

    Leak Or Not (none / 0) (#108)
    by daring grace on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 03:03:47 PM EST
    He's not named an ACTUAL choice yet.

    So Obama has faught for the gays? (none / 0) (#72)
    by Prabhata on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:43:10 PM EST
    When did BO go out on a limb to make the lives of the gays better?  He wouldn't even have his photo with Mayor Newsom in 2004 (after taking the money from the fundraiser) because BO was afraid to tarnish his image.

    Right (none / 0) (#91)
    by Emma on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:37:10 PM EST
    Like the Ledbetter Act - a Democratic bill the Democrats couldn't even get out of a Dememocratic Congress onto the President's desk -- is going to make me vote for Obama.