A measure of leadership is taking responsibility for appearing and voting for bills and resolutions. Of the three remaining candidates, Clinton has the best record, and Obama has the worst. Obama has been in the Senate the shortest amount of time, yet he has the worst Senate voting record of the three candidates.
Clinton has missed 7% since 2001, McCain has missed 17% since 1997, and Obama has missed 18% since 2005. Many of the missed votes have come during heavy campaigning with all three candidates’ records showing a spike in the last half of 2007.
The following charts show the voting records of all three candidates since their election to their Senate seats.
The absentee rate is in red.
- The lower black dotted line shows the median value for all Members of Congress in that time period.
The upper black dotted line shows the 90th percentile. That is, a member above the upper dotted line is in the company of just one out of ten of his or her peers in missing that many votes.
When employers look at potential employees, one of the most important factors – if not the most important factor – is reliability and showing up for work. We should expect no less from a candidate. While it may be physically impossible to campaign and completely fulfill the obligation to appear to vote when necessary, Clinton’s voting record shows that she has managed to balance the two competing forces much more efficiently and effectively than Obama.
An employer would not keep an employee if that employee missed almost 20% of the time. Fortunately, voters have the luxury of knowing the voting records ahead of time and can decide whether demonstrating leadership in the performance of senatorial obligations is, indeed, important or not. Personally, I think it is.