Oracle of Liberty

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Obama’s 1st 100 days – D.C. bi-partisan politics?


On November 4th, the United States elected a man who promised ‘change’, ‘hope’ and ‘to improve America’s image around the world.’ On January 20th, his eloquently chosen words extolled the American way of life and made millions of American’s once again be proud to call themselves a citizen of such a great and honorable country. The rest of America has and are proud to call themselves American. They didn’t need a rallying speech in order to shed a tear at the pride they feel when they think about what their country has endured since the 1700’s. Admittedly, I get choked up every time I hear the “Star Spangled Banner”, “My Country, Tis of Thee”, “America the Beautiful”, “Taps”, and “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. These songs remind me of what all America, its fallen heroes and still living veterans have sacrificed to endure its freedom.

But sometimes a speech is needed to heal those who are weak and sick, to pick those up who have been knocked down and dust off their shoulders, and most of all, a speech is needed when it is indicative of a people who need rhetoric to follow instead of actionable leadership. Well, in President Obama’s first 100+ days everyone in America surely has their take on whether we have been following rhetoric or actionable leadership. Let’s compare his words that so many have chosen to follow versus his actions that have proven less courageous.

Leading up to election day, one of Obama’s most prominent campaign promises was to change Washington politics by changing the partisan tones and the influence of lobbyists. His inauguration speech included this, “On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.” During his campaign and after the election, he promised ‘a new era of responsibility’, promised to end ‘earmarks’, and vowed to ‘increase transparency.’ He claimed in his campaign that ‘no bill that comes to my desk will be signed into law until the American public has had 5 days to read it and offer their perspective to their representatives.’ However, his actions tell another story. Let’s review.
On Partisanship – he handed Pelosi the reigns to write the stimulus and budget bills but he claimed to have a ‘reach across the aisle’ cocktail hour at the White House to get everyone on board. Most republicans at that meeting will say that it was a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting and not a heartfelt ‘bridge the gap’ affair. He also used the phrase, “We won”, (alluding to democrat victory in the election) at a press conference to address a question that arose over whether or not republicans were correct in calling for more tax cuts or to dramatically reduce spending in reference to the stimulus and budget bills. His statement reeks of the ‘its his way or the highway’ approach that so many blame that Bush took to new heights. It appears there is no height that Obama can’t outdo.
On Earmarks – 485 earmarks and the Omnibus budget had 9,000 earmarks and $13 billion in total. Obama called the $13 billion …but claims that the $17 billion in spending cuts to his new budget a large sum of money. Interesting how when it the ends justify the means on spending that $17 billion is a lot of money. But when ‘earmarks’ are $13 billion that its not worth getting worked up over. The Omnibus bill represents nearly everything Democrats had criticized about the earlier Republican Congresses. It forces lawmakers to vote quickly on a bloated package combining nine separate appropriations bills. It irresponsibly expands the already-record budget deficit. And despite strongly worded proclamations about cleaning up Washington, the 2009 appropriation bills will have the second-most earmarks in history.
On Transparency13 bills have come to his desk for signature, all but one was signed into law within 5 days. The largest budget bill in the history of our country was signed into law 2 days after both chambers agreed on the bill. The Stimulus package, four days. SCHIP signed within hours of passing. To Obama’s defense, he did, in a few speeches say that this transparency would be on ‘non-emergency’ bills. Well, budget bills are not emergency bills as they are not enacted for months after signing. The Stimulus bill was rushed through both chambers, most of your elected officials never read what they were signing, and as of today only about $20 billion has been spent to ‘stimulate’ our economy. Doesn’t sound like passing the $787 billion was much of an emergency after all, especially if you look at what liberals want you to notice about the leading economic indicators. Our economy is stabilizing!!!! Good thing they don’t want to write another stimulus bill…oh wait, many of them do. Sorry. Of course, Obama’s White House will point you to Recovery.gov for the example of this ‘transparency.’ However, this site will offer very little oversight into where our taxpayer dollars are going. Why? Well, for instance, the stimulus package will only require that states and cities disclose project-specific expenses. For example, we will know how much the federal government gave to California but the state must show how it distributed those funds. Therefore, while we may know that over $25 million was used to pave Olympic Blvd, between Sepulveda and Beverly (all that drive that route know we need it badly), none of us will know how many Starbucks coffee’s or McDonalds lunches were purchased with that money. Also, to hammer this point home even further, Congress is not requiring that stimulus contracts to be competitively bid. Based on all the above, if Obama wishes to have real transparency then he will have mayors, governors and all grantees account for every stimulus dime. Anyone with any scruples know that this will not happen so there will be plenty of opportunity for corruption.
On Lobbyists – Obama’s ethics proposals specifically spelled out that former lobbyists would not be allowed to “work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years.” On his first full day in office, Obama signed an executive order to that effect. But the order has a loophole — a “waiver” clause that allows former lobbyists to serve. That waiver clause has been used at least three times, and in some cases, the administration allows former lobbyists to serve without a waiver. However, below is a section from an Executive Order that Obama had written and vowed to uphold by ‘the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America…’ that was to be enacted on January 21, 2009.

Executive Order — Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel
“3. Revolving Door Ban Lobbyists Entering Government. If I was a registered lobbyist within the 2 years before the date of my appointment, in addition to abiding by the limitations of paragraph 2, I will not for a period of 2 years after the date of my appointment:

(a) participate in any particular matter on which I lobbied within the 2 years before the date of my appointment;

(b) participate in the specific issue area in which that particular matter falls; or

(c) seek or accept employment with any executive agency that I lobbied within the 2 years before the date of my appointment.

To wrap up this evaluation, it has become increasingly clear that passing the president’s agenda with the help of the far left has become the priority. Meanwhile working with republicans to ‘end the petty grievances’ and ‘change the last 8 years’ partisan politics’ has become secondary. If his broken promises and actions that have occurred in his first 100 days is a precursor of what we should expect for the next 1360 days, then we can expect everyone to trust the government a lot less. This doesn’t mean, however, that those Obama supporters will ever look beyond the rhetoric to the actions. Hitler once said, “The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force.” It’s in this frame of mind that many will again support Obama for reelection in 2012, as those who are weak (uneducated, welfare recipients, can’t climb the corporate ladder, etc.) will follow his rhetoric. Unfortunately, it is my belief that unless there is a quick change as to the path America is on, that there will be fewer leaders in America in the coming years due to the Government’s influence toward a socialist agenda whereby innovation is driven by politics and not by capitalism and one’s desire to succeed.

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This entry was posted on May 10, 2009 by in Obama's D.C. changes and promises.

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