He promised there wouldn’t be lobbyists. Not a one.
But less than a week into Barack Obama’s presidency (a week!), the White House had hired at least a dozen of them. They granted exceptions for some, and for others they exploited loopholes in the administration’s own self-written, self-imposed rules.
Anyone taken by surprise by the more recent White House scandals—Solyndra, Operation Fast and Furious, the downfall of Obama’s “Wall Street Guy” Jon Corzine—really shouldn’t have been surprised at all. That early ethical backpedalling was excellent, if not unfortunate, foreshadowing of what was to come.
Over the last three years, Barack Obama has proven to be nothing but a typical politician—willing to promise anything, and equally willing to break any promise. As a result, Team Obama has shattered the image of ethical superiority they so carefully molded. Yet, in hopes of scoring a few more political points, they still cling to that image, bitter that no one takes them at their word anymore.
Candidate Obama was either exceptionally naïve or willfully disingenuous when he vowed to change the way Washington works. The very promise of Hope and Change was rooted in uprooting the Washington modus operandi. But instead of rejecting it, he embraced it all—the secrecy, the closed doors, the political favors, the near-criminal negligence.
Is it terribly surprising for an administration filled with veteran Chicago politicos? There’s a reason “Chicago-style politics” rings like an epithet—even in Washington. And in true Chicago form, the White House denies wrongdoing even when presented with undeniable evidence.
“The most transparent administration in history,” is White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s go-to line. Yes, the American people can see right through many of Team Obama’s political ploys, but that’s not likely what he means.
The Solyndra scandal proved the fallacy of the “most transparent” mantra—if it wasn’t already obvious. When Congress subpoenaed documents relating to the White House’s involvement in the now-bankrupt stimulus-backed solar energy company, the administration called the demands “unprecedented and unnecessary.”
President Obama promised a “new standard of openness,” but apparently it wasn’t a very high one.