RNC Video: “From 'Hope' to Hypocrisy”

Daniel Doherty

6/27/2012 11:55:00 AM - Daniel Doherty

This clip is pure gold and pitch-perfect, courtesy of the Republican National Committee:

Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of the law will be the touchstones of this presidency.

Riiiight. Remember, too, this is the same president who called George W. Bush’s fiscal policies “unpatriotic” in 2008. Less than four years later, however, he became the first American president to increase the national debt by $5 trillion. Go figure. More to the point, though, the reason this particular advertisement is so damaging is because President Obama staked his presidency on the very notion of “transparency.” He used lofty rhetoric and populist catchphrases in order to convince Americans he would hold his administration -- and himself -- accountable to “an unprecedented level of openness.” And yet, after three and a half years in power, has he lived up to that noble ideal? Nope:

“Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act work. … It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There’s just no question about it,” said Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978. “This administration is raising one barrier after another. … It’s gotten to the point where I’m stunned — I’m really stunned.”

Indeed, the president’s decision to invoke executive privilege over the subpoenaed Fast and Furious documents is only the latest maneuver by this administration to keep the public in the dark. (And, yes, I do recognize presidents have invoked executive privilege since George Washington’s time). But President Obama explicitly promised to be different than his predecessors. In sum, his decision to withhold the documents from the public -- while certainly legal – is a radical and unfortunate departure from his pledge of transparency. He deserves the torrent of criticism coming his way.