Rep. Barbara Lee, who admits in her book that she has been called everything from a radical to an anti-American communist, is very pleased with the record of her friend, President Barack Obama. In fact, she thinks he has been "phenomenal."
At an event sponsored by the National Press Club, where she was introduced by journalist Helen Thomas, Lee said that she's very excited about the bills that Obama has signed and the executive orders he has issued. And she thinks there is much more to come. She is even working for normalization of relations with Communist Cuba.
Lee, the chairwoman of the 42-member Congressional Black Caucus and a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is perhaps best known for casting the lone vote in the House against U.S. military action to remove the Taliban regime in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. The Taliban had harbored the al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for 9/11.
In her book, Renegade for Peace & Justice, Lee declares her support for "a world vision of peace" and a Cabinet-level Department of Peace. She favors big cuts in the Pentagon budget and reliance on the United Nations in foreign affairs.
Regarding President Obama, whom she served as a presidential campaign adviser, Lee writes in her book that "I liked his message of fundamental change, which was as close to a revolutionary message as we have had in decades." She served as Obama's Western Regional co-chair during the campaign "and I participated in rallies, phone banking, and behind-the-scenes advising on issues and politics."
Lee's effusive comments about Obama's record and agenda were made at a National Press Club event on Wednesday night and illustrate a fact of political life that has been lost amid the media controversies over Obama's tainted nominees and "stimulus" bill. She made it clear that, on issues ranging from the war on terrorism to federal spending bills, Obama and his "progressive" allies in Congress are winning.
Her book refers to Obama by his first name. She writes, "Barack and I spoke on several occasions before my endorsement [of his presidential bid] and in our conversations we discussed his position on the [ Iraq ] war and other issues..."
Before heading off to an event at the White House, Lee told the National Press Club audience that "I think he's doing a great job. I think his appointments have been great." She called his record "phenomenal." She then ticked off a number of Obama executive orders and statements and bills that he has signed or plans to sign:
1)Â Â Â Â Â Announcing the eventual closing of the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility.
2)Â Â Â Â Â Prohibiting the use of "torture" by U.S. personnel when dealing with terrorists.
3)Â Â Â Â Â Limits on compensation for CEOs at banks getting bailout money.
4)Â Â Â Â Â "Understanding what we need to do to get out of this economic crisis," a reference to the federal spending "stimulus" bill now in Congress.
5)Â Â Â Â Â Signed the children's health bill, officially designated the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (passed the House by a 290-135 vote and the Senate by a 66-32 vote).
6)Â Â Â Â Â Signed the women's pay equity bill, designated the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (passed the House by a 250-177 vote and the Senate by a 61-36 vote).
7)Â Â Â Â Â "By the stroke of the pen got rid of that very damaging global gag ruleÂ¯that Mexico City language on family planning funding." This new Obama executive order authorizes federal funding of pro-abortion groups.
In addition to these achievements from the "progressive" point of view, several controversial Obama nominees have been confirmed by the Senate.
Hillary Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State by a 94-2 vote while Eric Holder was confirmed as Attorney General by a 75-21 vote. Holder had been involved in Clinton Administration pardons of terrorist members of the Weather Underground and the Puerto Rican FALN.Â
Despite his tax cheating problems, Timothy Geithner was confirmed as Treasury Secretary by a 60-34 Senate vote.
Lee was introduced at the National Press Club event by Helen Thomas, the outspokenly radical correspondent who made headlines during the George W. Bush presidency by denouncing U.S. foreign policy from her position as the most senior member of the White House press corps.Â
Thomas hailed Lee for her role and votes in Congress. "Courage is her second name," said Thomas. "She has walked in where angels fear to tread." She proceeded to take another shot at Bush, denouncing his "disastrous war against Iraq ."
In the acknowledgements section of the book, Lee names Thomas as an inspiration behind the book itself. It is published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. and includes an endorsement on the back cover from Bono, the rock star.
The event was officially sponsored by the book and author committee of the National Press Club.Â