The following was cross-posted at www.fiscalaccountability.org:
President Obama’s view of government transparency is fluid.
That’s the verdict of today’s Washington Times editorial on the issue of the Obama Administration deciding not to release the mid-summer budget update.
The irony is stark. What is ‘transparent’ here, is the intent to ‘obscure’ the fiscal picture. After all, the updated over-spending (aka "deficit") numbers might derail his already faltering plan for a government takeover of health care. His media blitzkrieg has not been working, and his failure to live up to his transparency promise when it comes to the healthcare negotiations is angering taxpayers, who have already had to put up with a misguided "stimulus," passed without transparency and a "cap-and-trade" house bill that was passed with similar secrecy.
What was the healthcare transparency promise, you may ask? Well, it was this one:
I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process.
If such C-SPAN-televised forums happened aside from the scripted tele-townhall, they certainly did not make the news, but headlines like this one did:
The list has now been released, but if you’re serious about your transparency promises, it shouldn’t take a media outcry to release it.
The bottom line seems to be that Obama’s view of government transparency is indeed fluid. He likes transparency as long as he can put a spin on it, such as how many jobs he has "saved or created." But when it hurts his cause, all of a sudden, the lights go dim.
Photo credit: Jan-Erik Finnberg