Saturday, February 14, 2009

No Words for You!

On Friday, the Washington Post noted that Senator Judd Gregg had decided not to take the job as Secretary of Commerce after initially indicating he would - 'My Mistake'

The WaPo implies that Mr. Gregg was more than a bit naive if he was surprised by the details of the stimulus package, the reason he gave for bowing out.
There will be plenty of questions about both sides of this collapsed merger. Mr. Obama has been clear on what he wanted in the stimulus package since the November election; nothing there could have come as a surprise to Mr. Gregg. On the other hand, Mr. Gregg's concern about potential changes at the Census Bureau, particularly news that the census director would report to the White House instead of the commerce secretary, are understandable: Either this administration trusts me or it does not, he might fairly have felt.
What?! Obama's been saying since November he wanted to spend hundreds of millions on green golf cart technology, preserving swamp rodents in Nancy Pelosi's district (she's doing that quite well enough on her own, thank you very much), lead-based paint hazard control, leaking underground storage tanks, and billions in funding for ACORN, carbon-capture demonstrations, and socializing health care?

Not. What President Obama had been saying, up until he let Nancy Pelosi roll him write the bill, was that a stimulus should promote job creation and moving the economy in the next two years. This bill does not do that in the vast majority of it's particulars, which we know primarily through rumor and innuendo. There is no plausible urgency for 70 or 80 percent of the spending.

In this regard we should also recall the President's repeated insistence that he would
"... go line by line through every item in the federal budget and eliminate programs that don’t work and make sure that those that do work, work better and cheaper.” This was his constant theme during the presidential debates to cut government.
Since the stimulus bill was passed in the dead of night and no one had read it, much less examined it "line by line," we must suspect that that promise was empty. Just Words.

Despite the fact that the House unanimously, and that's as bipartisan as it gets, voted for a 48 hour cooling off period pause in which they could actually read the bill the Democrat leadership insisted it be voted on immediately. The promise to wait 48 hours was Just Words.

When the Speaker did publish it, she posted most of it in an unsearchable PDF format. The intent was obviously to prevent people from easily finding out what's in it.

Perhaps she is unaware of this guarantee appearing at Change.gov regarding Obama's ethics agenda.
The Obama-Biden Plan

Barack Obama has led efforts to reform government both in the Illinois State Senate and in the United States Senate. He will bring this commitment to making government work for the people, not the special interests, to the White House. Obama will ensure Washington works for the people, not the special interests.

...End the Practice of Writing Legislation Behind Closed Doors: As president, Barack Obama will restore the American people's trust in their government by making government more open and transparent. Obama will work to reform congressional rules to require all legislative sessions, including committee mark-ups and conference committees, to be conducted in public. By making these practices public, the American people will be able to hold their leaders accountable for wasteful spending and lawmakers won't be able to slip favors for lobbyists into bills at the last minute.
On the other hand, Ms Pelosi did think that the words in the bill were important, just that the rest of us aren't important enough to read them.
“With all of this you have to see the language. You said this --- I said that --- I understood it to be this way --- you know, we wanted to see it in writing and when we did that then we were able to go forward."

"Around here language means a lot. Words weigh a ton and one person's understanding of a spoken description might vary from another's. We wanted to see it. And not only just I had to see it, I had to show it to my colleagues and my caucus. We wanted to take all the time that was necessary to make sure it was right."
And this brings us back to the Washington Post. They urge Obama not to stop reaching out to the Republicans. He should not be too disappointed over Senator Gregg's premature evacuation.
Still, the reversal should not discourage Mr. Obama from seeking bipartisan cooperation.
I'm just amazed that even before the stimulus bill the WaPo could maintain the fiction that Obama has been seeking bipartisan cooperation. I wonder what they'll say next. The entire sum of evidence for bipartisan efforts is what Obama has said about it, no actions back it up. Just Words.

1 comment:

Ted said...

Obama’s stealing the census from Congress has suddenly awakened and enraged the Republicans. Maybe this will arouse them as well to challenge Obama for stealing the Presidency itself. They surely know he is not an Article 2 “natural born citizen” (which is more than merely being a 14th Amendment “citizen”) by virtue of either Obama’s birth to a dad of Kenyan/British citizenship or birth in Kenya itself — as manifested by his unwillingness to supply his long form birth certificate now under seal.