Free Markets, Free People

The Transparent Administration – Part II

I noted the other day that the Obama administration was hiding its revised budget numbers from the public until August. Obviously, in light of the push to pass health care legislation, they don’t want anymore bad news out there than the CBO has already delivered. And, of course, there’s no doubt that had the news been good, they’d have fallen all over themselves to publish it.

That brings us to our “transparency” moment today. This will probably ring a familiar bell:

Obama administration officials have rejected a watchdog group’s request for a list of healthcare industry executives who’ve been meeting secretly in the White House with Obama staffers to discuss healthcare changes being drafted there and in Congress.

According to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which is suspicious of the influence of health industry lobbyists and company officers, it received a letter from the Secret Service citing an Obama Justice Department directive and denying access to visitor logs under the “presidential communications privilege.”

Sound familiar?

Of course it does. But since Darth Cheney and the evil oil executives weren’t involved, my guess is it will hardly make a ripple among lefty critics of the Bush administration.

Promises, promises, this guy was all about promises, remember?

The Problem

Lobbyists Write National Policies: For example, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force of oil and gas lobbyists met secretly to develop national energy policy.

Secrecy Dominates Government Actions: The Bush administration has ignored public disclosure rules and has invoked a legal tool known as the “state secrets” privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.

But you know, the new guy would never do that. He promised!

And you remember the criticism from Democrats and the left about Bush and his signing statements?  Well, guess what?

Congressional Democrats warned President Barack Obama on Tuesday that he sounded too much like George W. Bush when he declared this summer that the White House can ignore legislation he thinks oversteps the Constitution.

In a letter to the president, four senior House members said they were “surprised” and “chagrined” by Obama’s statement in June accompanying a war spending bill that he would ignore restrictions placed on aid provided to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

The rebuff was reminiscent of Bush, who issued a record number of “signing statements” while in office. The statements put Congress on notice that the administration didn’t feel compelled to comply with provisions of legislation that it felt challenged the president’s authority as commander in chief.

Democrats, including Obama, sharply criticized Bush for his reliance on the statements. Obama said he would use them sparingly and only if authorized by the attorney general.

Hope and change.


9 Responses to The Transparent Administration – Part II

  • Something very interesting is about to happen. Let me lay it all out for you. It is called “The Calendar.” And it makes for an interesting read.

    Right now, The Clown’s™ JARs (job approval ratings) are eroding daily, now at about 51%-55%, given the number of polls out there. (I believe Rasmussen’s 51%, but let’s give the other liberals, er, pollsters, a break here.)

    Health care reform is about to tank, mainly because the Blue Dog Democrats stared into the abyss and couldn’t hold their colostomy bags from breaking all over, so we will have the August recess with no work done for 4 whole weeks. Do you – does anyone – think that allowing this pile of manure to sit around and mature for four weeks is going to make it smell any better? Anyone?

    So, here’s is what is about to happen: in September, the Congress comes back, having heard an earful from their constituents about this, er, pile of manure. More Blue Dogs, skittish about their own poll numbers and their party’s, will balk at the mess. It goes down to defeat unless The Clown™ accepts something far, far different than the socialistic power grab he has been looking for. But he won’t, so it will be dead. And may it die a quick and rotten death.

    Then, in September, more evidence that The Clown™ is unfit for office rolls in as unemployment rises above 10%, and nears 20% in some selected states. What happens in September? Budget bills come due for FY 2010. And reports on what happens in FY 2009, that $1.8 TRILLION DOLLAR DISASTER, will come out more and more.

    So, September’s bad news will follow with October’s bad news followed by November’s bad news. By Thanksgiving, many people will be giving thanks that they are merely holding on in Obama’s America.

    But, alas, alack! We missed something: those pesky November gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia! Wanna see Democrats panic? Watch if both seats go Republican. Corzine looks to be going down in Joizy, and Tim Kaine is becoming highly unpopular in Virginia. Follow the hilarity as Democrats crawl all over each other blaming this one, and that one, and The Dear Leader™ for the two defeats I predict are coming.

    And then what follows? CHRISTMAS. A nice hot time for sales, right? But what will people buy when they are afraid for their jobs and their homes? Nada, nothing, zilch. They continue to buy the necessities – food, clothes, etc. – and shy away from big ticket items. Stores slash prices. By January, the news on just how bad the Christmas season was for the nation’s retailers will come in, and it will be B-A-D with a capital B.

    So, now it is January 2010. No health care, unemployment at 11% nationwide (and more states joining the near-or-over 20% club), and that pesky deficit of $1.8 trillion will become $2.3 trillion in FY 2010. And then…who will the country blame for all of this?

    “It be the Emperor’s New Clothes, I believe, Old Sir.”

    And THAT is when The Clown’s™ JARs hit 40% or lower. Democrats panic that 2010 is not The Clown’s™ Waterloo, but their own. The Democrats form a circular suicide line and begin the task of repeating 1994, except the bloodletting and recriminations this time will be far, far worse. Nancy Pelosi will be seen as “the old Democrat” and may be shunted aside in a party schism. Harry Reid, whose re-elect numbers in Nevada are as good as a convicted pimp’s, will also become the target of ridicule.

    And then, watch as the Democrats dissemble. I have seen it before – in 1994. Except we have one thing the 1994 Democrats did not have in their history: 1994. They have seen what will become of them when the slide to the minority lasts for a dozen years. They are about to relive that nightmare tenfold.

  • As for the Signing Statement, so long as these statements doesn’t breach the actual language of the law and addresses the vagueness of the law, I find that each of these statements allows all to see whatever interpretation the Executive branch will apply to the law. The Signing Statements should impart no authority, but rather only represent a position of interpretation as made by the Executive Branch. Previously, these positions were understood within the Executive branch as internal policies that were unseen by the public and these positions were made public only when a statue was put up for judicial review or as regulations, stemming from these laws, were disclosed in the Federal Register. The Signing Statements represent a level of transparency by the Executive branch. If all bills had a Signing Statement, we would all be better served.
    The downside of a Signing Statement is that it removes the ability to flip-flop or in most cases even be flexible. It has the real effect of starting the judicial review process without even filing a suit, as it locks in many aspects of the Executive branch position. While many will view a Signing Statement on the Military Commissions Act as an “evil” act. It will be even more “evil” if there is no statement. The opponents of any contentious law should be waiting with baited breath to see what clarifications the Executive branch considers important enough to put into a Signing Statement, as this is the minimal test they will have to clear to have the court consider any reversals.

  • James Marsden… watch as the Democrats dissemble [for the mid-terms]. I have seen it before – in 1994. Except we have one thing the 1994 Democrats did not have in their history: 1994.

    First, let me say that your analysis of where the country will likely be by the mid-terms is horrifying… and probably spot-on (God save us).  The dems seem determined to turn a bad recession into an outright depression and are too stupid to change course in ways that might reverse or at least minimize some of the damage they’re doing.  At least, I HOPE that they’re too stupid: the other explanation is that they’re DELIBERATELY trying to destroy our economy and bankrupt us.

    Secondly, allow me to add to your analysis: the dems have something else that they didn’t have in ’94, i.e. George Bush and Dick Cheney.  Look for a steady stream of “analyses” from MiniTru about how this recession is all Bush’s fault*, coupled with plenty of investigations into the “illegal” actions that Bush and Cheney took as part of the WoT.  Whether using Bush as their Goldstein, combined with the natural gullibility of their voters, will be enough to get them off the hook remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t bet the farm against it.  dems in the past have been every bit as stupid and corrupt as they are today, yet they’ve managed to hold onto power in the Congress for most of my life.

    O’ course, it MAY be that the dems will throw TAO under the bus to save their own worthless hides.  THAT will be hilarious to watch.


    (*) Bush DOES bear some responsibility for this mess.  Quite aside from the fact that he and Paulson started the ball rolling that has resulted in Uncle Sugar throwing billions down the ratholes of bankrupt and near-bankrupt companies, he WAS the president, and “the buck ended” with him.  I wish that he had also been much more aggressive in pushing for Social Security reform and done more to cry “foul” when dems like Barney Fwank and “Countryside” Dodd were monkeying around with the mortgage industry.

  • O’ course, it MAY be that the dems will throw TAO under the bus to save their own worthless hides.  THAT will be hilarious to watch.

    This is something I’ve been thinking about all afternoon:  How likely is it that a president could overreach to the point of becoming a lame duck this early in their presidency?  Unfortunately, I don’t know enough history to know if there is any precedent for it.  It was that quote of a quote of a quote that got me thinking — Pres. Obama’s alleged comment “You’re going to destroy my presidency.
    What would be required?  Hillary resigning in a huff and starting a 2012 challenge?

  • OT but too funny not to share.  This was posted in a comment on politico. Think of 16 tons by Ernie Ford as you go through this
    Obama got elected now there is no end
    The Democrats wanna tax and spend
    Tax and spend us us into bankruptcy
    with a tax cheat runnin� the Treasury.
    You spend two trillion bucks and what do you get
    No recovery and deeper in debt
    St Peter better call �fore it�s too late,
    I owe my soul to the welfare state.
    Obama is a leftist as he can�t deny,
    Govern from the center is a great big lie.
    Karl Marx Manifesto is his playbook
    and you and me will soon be on the hook.
    You spend two trillion bucks in unsecured cash,
    soon the dollar will be pure trash.
    Our bond holders we have to appease,
    we owe our soul to the Red Chinese.
    Obama and his people are makin� a mess.
    Bernake�s fired up the printin� press.
    Printin� money that doesn�t exist –
    no wonder America is gettin� p#%ssed.
    You spend two trillion bucks, they ain�t done yet.
    Obama and Pelosi are pilin� up debt.
    I work hard for my money, this I don�t deserve,
    I owe my soul to the Federal Reserve

  • The precedent would be Jimmy Carter, by the mid point of his administration his own party had deserted him and he was essentially a lame duck even though running for reelection.

  • Hope and change.

    Com’on Bruce… you’re just being partisan.


  • In a clear CYA move, the Obama administration released the names of the visitors.
    This of course doesn’t excuse the hypocrisy, it doesn’t prove that the administration is willing to be as transparent as they promised to be.  After all, it took a lawsuit.
    Let’s just hope that outfits like CREW keeps up the pressure to hold Obama to his campaign promises.  Not that I expect it, and not that I expect the administration to respond.