Way back during the last presidential election season, the country was sold an idealistic, Utopian vision. It would usher in a new age, where the government would be truly responsible to the people, and that same government would be seen as the most open and transparent than any we have ever seen before. The new incoming government would end bureaucratic language and simply legislation to make it understandable and easily understood by the average American. If we only had a crystal ball, eh?
The promise of transparency was that legislation and administration policies would have no hidden agendas, little “fine print”, and would be straightforward. With the induction of President Obama to the Oval Office, both Robert Gibbs and Jay Carney have shown the transparency to be little more than a talking point. It has clearly fallen by the wayside as it appears Washington and its political animals are back to business as usual. Both Gibbs and Carney have had their shares of contentious moments with the White House Press Corps, trading barbs infrequently with Ed Rollins, Major Garrett, and Jake Tapper – who, to their credit, did not allow the Press Secretaries much wiggle room.
The reality of the transparency promise seems to fall far short of the rhetoric, however. The ongoing Obamacare fiasco, passed with a promise of “We have to pass it to see what is in it”, by a smiling, seemingly bemused, Nancy Pelosi is one of the sorest examples of this presidency’s opaque-transparency. After some 1,400 waivers to various groups and even states (benefiting over three million people), the administration finally said that no more waivers were to be granted. If you do not remember hearing this – it is little wonder, as the administration released that information on a Friday. While the waiver-list is easily accessible online, it does seem to be top-heavy with groups and business owners who are cozy with the administration. Is this honest? Is this how the legislative process is supposed to operate? I suppose if one looks past the flagrant waivers, and the irresponsible method the bill flew through Congress, one could smile and try to call it honest. I say the thing stinks to high heaven.
Another measure of transparency in my mind, is the personnel, and types of personnel that the administration has seen fit to employ to work on policy issues. It appears to be a cavalcade of incompetence, special interest leaders, and yes-men. An example is the avowed communist, Van Jones. With the minimal vetting the press did before he joined the administration, it is little wonder that he seemed so extreme once people did start digging into his background. When news of the former “Green Czar’s” ties to a Marxist group and a 9/11 truth group (911Truth.org), he was forced to resign, bemoaning the “smear campaign” and “lies and distortion” used against him. If the allegations were untrue, why hasn’t he sued for slander or libel, or tried to refute them?
Finally, the most appalling lack of transparency (and ultimately, a massive cover-up) is the one that threatens to embroil the entire Department of Justice. “Operation Fast & Furious” was based on an awful plan to provide guns, bought with taxpayer money, to Mexican cartel members. Someone thought this was a simply brilliant idea. Run out of the Phoenix office of the ATF Bureau, its paper trail seems to easily run clear back to Washington D.C., and it has plenty of people involved. Both Lanny Breuer and Eric Holder are listed as recipients of emails detailing the extent and development of the program. Darrell Issa, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, has sought to obtain documents and emails regarding the “Fast & Furious Program”. What he was sent consisted of heavily redacted pages of solid black. Transparency, indeed.