Obama’s Transparency – It’s Not Clear to Me

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I have finally figured it out….

I have finally figured out just what President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid mean by “transparency”.  Mrs. Pelosi has said repeatedly that this is the most open and transparent Congress to date.   How can she claim transparency when there are closed-door sessions where deals are cut with special interest groups and bribes for legislators?   I’ll tell you what Ms. Pelosi means.  She looks right into the eyes of the media and says, “We’re going to do this, and it’s going to be done this way, by this time, and we won’t accept any change or compromise.”   That’s pretty clear.

Harry Reid has his own version of transparency.  His transparency is that he tells people what the Senate is going to do (that’s the transparent part), then in closed-door sessions he buys a vote or two that will put his plan over, and then ultimately proclaims the success he predicted.   Come on, who cannot see what’s really happening when senators exchange their votes for millions of dollars for their states?  When Senators Nelson and Landrieu took Reid’s bribes for their healthcare votes and support, it was well publicized on conservative talk shows on radio and TV, and through conservative blogs on the web.  It became really transparent to Americans at that point that what was going on in Washington was “politics as usual” – or maybe on politics on steroids!   The audacity of the Democrats was that they believed that they can get away with such underhanded dealings  — even out in the open — because, after all, they had control in the White House, Senate, and the House of Representatives.  Who was going to stop them?   Seriously, who can expect real transparency when deals are negotiated behind closed doors, especially when only those of like-minds are invited inside and those holding opposing views are banned from participation in the sessions?   

Obama’s lack of his promised transparency has cost him in the polls, and yet he still spouts the same old rhetoric from his campaigning days, still tossing the blame for  everything on Bush, still holding closed door meetings with special interest groups and congressional leaders, and still has his czars and others with far-left political views in policy-making positions who are not confirmed by Congress or elected by voters.  Is that transparency?  Not in my book.  When Obama campaigned on transparency, the people took him at his word… And why was that?  Because that would truly be the  promised change and hope for a new way for  Washington to operate.  Who wouldn’t vote for that?  Only it hasn’t happened – and it won’t under THIS administration, for sure!

We were forewarned by deeds rather than words.  Obama certainly didn’t display any transparency during the campaign…. not about his collegiate career, college applications and transcripts; not by producing his actual birth certificate, not by explaining how he traveled about the globe as an unemployed individual of non-existent means, and other things – things that could be easily produced and would end the suspicions and speculations once and for all, assuming he really wanted to be transparent!   

How can Obama proclaim his administration is transparent when there are special considerations for individuals and certain groups, and when what should be public information is hidden from the public?  Again, what about the campaign promise of transparency, of the CSPAN-televised negotiations on healthcare reform which never materialized?  In fact, Obama has laughingly shrugged that one off as a “just one of those many campaign promises politicians make” – and as everyone knows ALL campaign promises can’t be kept, right?   At this point, it’s pretty obvious that we will never see the kind of transparency we had hoped for from this Administration or from Congress.  Rather, the type of transparency now being promoted is the transparency of some of our national secrets under the guise criminally trying enemy combatants in our federal courts – the kind of transparency that can cost us our national safety – or de-classifying important documents and publicizing interrogation techniques used on terrorists.  Just who is that transparency for?

As I’ve pointed out previously, Democrats say there is (by their own definitions) transparency in our government.  I have noticed, though, there are some differences in the “applied definition” of transparency between the Legislative and Executive branches.  The Obama White House tends toward (unintended) transparency where the various members of Obama’s staff inadvertently reveal things simply because the players can’t keep their stories in synch – or their mouths shut.  The Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House do their “dirty” dealings behind closed doors, usually with a group of like-minded persons, and try to come up with a more palatable way of force-feeding their “transparency” to the voters.   (Occasionally, politicians seeking the limelight will spill some beans though.   I happen to be thankful that at least this kind of transparency has occurred because it has made for a wiser American public.)  

Perhaps the differences between the White House and Congress “transparency successes” are because the Legislative branch happens to have had a lot more experience with “covert transparency” than the intellectuals and academics who are presently making up the Executive Branch and staff.  Congress is full of professional politicians.  The White House is amateurish on governing in this way, having their strength in organizing groups.  However, because of the closer scrutiny by those on the right, and even independents, who have their eyes and ears open,  both branches have come up short on executing their types of transparency. 

For instance, remember the healthcare bill and the people who went to townhall meetings to express their opposition to HR 3200 and make their concerns known?  When it came time to literally push through controversial legislation on healthcare that apparently was in direct opposition to the wishes of the majority of the American voters (you’ll recall the uproar of the summer and fall townhall meetings!), Pelosi and Reid showed a surprising lack of understanding of the tenor of the public’s sentiment and their grasp of what the bill actually contained.  But they made no bones about what they were going to do …. that’s their transparency!  They had dismissed the fact that the voters were becoming more educated on the issues and beginning to become active in the process by using their freedom of speech to contact their legislators and following the examples of other grass roots organizations to come together.   The conservative and independent voters have educated themselves on the issues as well as having gained a better understanding of  “the game” of politics.  While these newbies to politics began paying close attention to the activities of their legislators, they are also began to groom their own to rise up to replace those entrenched and out-of-touch members of Congress.   

The legislators dismissed the American people and the subsequent polling that resulted from the discontent.  However, with the strong showing in NYC 23 and with Scott Brown’s senate seat win, there is a transparent national “routing out” of those who do backroom deals or who refuse to listen to their constituents.   One only has to read the handmade placards at the rallies and look at the polls to see this is true.  Concerned Americans are being transparent in their plans to unseat those who are not listening to the people who sent them to Washington.   The people are outraged that their own legislators don’t read the bills they are voting on, or even know what was in them.  Yet the legislators will still push for a bill’s passage while the people are aggressively telling them no!  The people  have had enough.   

The biggest mistake made by the Democrats, which  will cost them dearly in the mid-term elections is that they wouldn’t consider that the emotion which was demonstrated in the townhall meetings was genuine, and that it would still rage strong or be as widespread this long.  The people, who had placed their hope in the promises of transparency and openness and of a different Washington than previous administrations, were transparent when they expressed their concern all summer and fall.  They had grown tired of Washington’s favors and bribery, and they were expressing strong opposition to the Democrats’ type of “transparency”, yet they got more of the same.

Unfortunately for the Democrats,  the polls now reflect a sharp downturn for long-time incumbents who are up for relection in 2010.   (Just as a reminder, it’s not just Democrats who will find the going rough.  Some Republicans should watch themselves as well.)  Recently, public backlash has prompted several prominent, long-term, entrenched Democrats to”called it quits” rather than run for re-election and face certain defeat, and why?  Perhaps they’ve seen the “handwriting on the wall”.  Or, as Rep. Snyder (D- AR) said, “I want to spend time more with my family”.  Perhaps they’ve come to realize that there really IS a grassroots movement —  NOT the “astroturf”, as Nancy Pelosi called it — that has taken hold and spread all across this nation and it will affect real change in our government and restore hope to American citizens.  

When people band together in groups called “tea parties” and have an announced agenda of becoming politically savvy and involved for the purpose of routing out the politicians who don’t really care about preserving the principles upon which this country was founded, but rather make a political career for themselves, I call this a type of transparency, too.  Don’t you? 

The Scott Brown win has the Democrats scrambling to “embrace” the other side of the aisle, but they’re still missing the transparency issue.  They want the Republican “participation” but they don’t want to hear Republican input!  What they all should be doing is listening to the people!  We’ll see what happens over these next few months until the next election.   At this point, though, what the Democrats are doing is  pretty clear and transparent to me – more political games, not more transparency!

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