Three months ago Barack Obama was elected on a promise of hope and change. After less than a month in office his message has turned to one of gloom and doom. His approval ratings have dropped significantly, and many voters must surely wonder why the reality of the Obama presidency has not matched the promise of the Obama campaign. Some may even be experiencing a bit of buyers’ (or voters’) remorse.
Problems began with a string of failed nominees, several with tax issues. Add to that a confirmed Treasury Secretary with a tax problem. These were especially embarrassing considering Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden told voters it was “patriotic” to pay taxes. Should voters be surprised? Not if they were paying attention. All voters had to do was look at the questions surrounding some of Obama’s associates, from Bill Ayers to Rev. Wright to Jim Johnson, to know there would likely be some problems with those he chose to be part of his administration.
During the campaign, candidate Obama criticized John McCain’s ties to lobbyists saying, “We need a president who sees government not as a tool to enrich friends and high-priced lobbyists, but as the defender of fairness and opportunity for every American." He vowed that lobbyists, “won’t find a job in my White House.” When in office one of his first acts was to sign an executive order barring former lobbyists from working in the administration for agencies they had lobbied, but the following day he issued a waiver to allow William Lynn, a lobbyist for Raytheon, to serve as the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Since then at least a dozen former lobbyists have joined the administration.
Voters would not be surprised by this if they had looked at his record, rather than listened to his rhetoric. In April, USA Today reported that even though Obama boasted of being "the only candidate who isn't taking a dime from Washington lobbyists," his fundraising team included 38 members of law firms that were paid $138 million in 2007 to lobby the federal government. Those lawyers, including10 former federal lobbyists, had pledged to raise at least $3.5 million for his presidential race and employees of their firms gave the campaign $2.26 million.