During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama promised to slow “the rise of the oceans” and “heal” the planet if elected President of the United States. And of course, when he was elected -- as far as I can tell -- none of that actually happened. But it’s worth pointing out that in early 2009 he made another, perhaps more realistic promise to the American public: overseeing an open and transparent administration:
“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of my presidency.”
So, five years later, how’s he doing? Ahem:
Earlier this month President Barack Obama praised his administration as “the most transparent administration in history.”
American voters disagree.
A new Fox News poll finds that 37 percent of voters think the Obama administration is less open and transparent than previous administrations, and another 35 percent say it is about as transparent as others.
Twenty-six percent agree President Obama has met a 2008 presidential campaign commitment to openness and that his administration is more transparent than others.
The issue rose to the surface again last week when the White House press corps was shut out from watching President Obama play golf with Tiger Woods. Prior to that reporters had been questioning the openness of the administration on weightier issues, such as the Benghazi attack on U.S. diplomats.
The differing views of the administration’s transparency have a strong partisan bias.
By a 38 percentage-point margin, Democrats say Obama has been more transparent than previous presidents, while Republicans say it has been less open by a 58-point margin. Among independents, 14 percent say Obama has been more open, 40 percent say less open and 45 percent say it’s been about the same as others.
By contrast, by a 62-29 percent margin, voters say media coverage of Washington and the White House is focusing more on silly issues of little importance for the country than serious issues of great importance.
Sure, the results have “a strong partisan bias,” but it’s telling that more than a third of voters think The One hasn’t kept his promise, and is in fact leading the least transparent administration in our nation’s history. Good times. From the administration’s public equivocations on questions related to drones strikes, Benghazi, and his Super-Pac-turned-non-profit, many agree that Team Obama’s transparency track record is -- at best -- mixed. At worst, the White House has been known to threaten those with whom they disagree and perhaps even deliberately mislead the American public on issues of paramount importance. And while we can certainly disagree to what extend the president has been open and honest with us, to say that transparency has been a “touchstone” of his presidency is, I think, a bit of a stretch by any objective measure.