While you won’t hear this reported by the mainstream media, it turns out President Obama has yet again broken another record in the first year of his historic Presidency.
Not since 1953 has another sitting President accomplished what President Obama has now done. The last and only other sitting President to also set this record was none other than Lydon Johnson.
What record might that be?
President Obama set a new record last year for getting Congress to vote his way, according to an annual study by Congressional Quarterly.
In his first year in office, Obama won 96.7 percent of the votes on which he had clearly staked a position.
That was a bit less than 4 percentage points higher than the previous record, set by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.
Congressional Quarterly, a sister publication to Congress.org, has compiled statistics on presidential support since 1953. Editors select the votes based on clear statements by the president or authorized spokesmen before the vote.
In all, Congress took 151 votes in which Obama had taken a position ahead of time.
His wins included votes for creating a massive economic stimulus package, bailing out the auto industry, letting the Food and Drug Administration regulate tobacco and confirming Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
But they also included key moves toward overhauling the health care system, regulating financial services and reducing greenhouse gases which have not yet passed both chambers of Congress.
That unfinished work will be taken up in the second session, which begins Tuesday. Obama’s ultimate success will depend on how well his second year in office goes.
“If this Congress passes both health care reform and climate change legislation on top of the economic stuff, it will go down as a historic achievement,” says Rich Fleisher, a political science professor at Fordham University in New York City. “But unless they continue to manage the agenda in a way that is very, very careful, that could all fall apart.”
In the House, Obama won 68 votes and lost four.
Among the losses: a vote to disapprove further spending on a bank bailout and a July vote to pass a food safety overhaul. Both were temporary setbacks since Congress eventually ended up supporting the president’s position.
In the Senate, Obama won 78 votes and lost one.
The Republican win there came on an amendment which would have barred spending money to transfer detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to the United States. In the end, the bill allowed the transfer under certain conditions.
To build this record, Obama relied heavily on Democratic majorities with only occasional support from the GOP. As in the health care overhaul, he also had to keep the entire Democratic caucus in the Senate in line.
“How you begin to understand his success is as a triumph of party government,” says Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Minnesota. “He’s got the large and unified majorities, and those are the enabling conditions for his record high support score.”
This is much different from President Johnson, who achieved the previous record by overcoming a divided Democratic caucus.
Agree or not, this is change you can not only believe in but find proof of. Given the time Obama will prove to be a President of great moral character determined to inspire Americans to get involved in government again. Whether he will be successful still remains, but he seems to have gotten off to a good start.