Obama's Team

Posted: 03/12/09


Bend but don't Break the New Rules: An Era of Technical Dishonesty?


On the surface President Obama looks calm. He delivers "campaign" style appearances in American towns hard hit by the present economy and in weekly Internet video addresses on the White House website. With apparent dichotomy, he continues delivering the same message of hope and change while on the other hand instilling a sense of imminent crisis Barack Obamaand economic disaster requiring immediate big government intervention. But even more troubling, beyond this apparent conflict of words there are conflicting actions.


Obama came to office promising a "new way of doing things." He declared his administration would operate under stronger ethical practices... stronger than those ever instituted by any previous administration. He defined "new rules" regarding lobbying. This type of rhetoric establishes trust. Yet the President identified "special circumstances" for his team so the country would "not be denied" the talents of "the best." In addition, a number of his appointees have had "tax issues" the most recent of whom is Ron Kirk, nominee for U.S. Trade Representative;and perhaps the most infamous of whom is Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner. Despite Geithner's tax problems he is now in charge of the IRS.


Concerning the $787B American Recovery and Investment Act (economic stimulus package), President Obama declared the American people would have at least five days to review any non-emergency bill before he signed it into law... yet even lawmakers did not have adequate opportunity to review the bill before voting. Many confess they never read it. Then on February 24th in an address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama said, "I’m proud that we passed the recovery plan free of earmarks, and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities."   Okay, first of all "free of earmarks?" Well, technically items were not entered into the stimulus package as declared earmarks. But, as an example of many "non-technical" earmarks contained in the bill, there are plans for spending $4B on a railway from Disneyland in Anaheim, CA to Las Vegas, NV benefiting Senate Majority Leader, Harry Ried's constituents. Forgive the play on Shakespeare but, an earmark by any other name still stinks.


Additionally, the President in his joint session address to Congress passed over this year's $410B Omnibus with a reported 9000 earmarks, including one Obama inserted as a senator from Illinois... and now has ordered struck from the record as reported by Fox News... "not the earmark, just Obama's name." To be fair, 40% of the earmarks in the current budget are reported to have been entered by Republicans... 60% by Democrats. And countering, the Left insists this year's budget is left over business from the Bush administration. Funny, with their majority in Congress it would seem they could change that. Why just look at what they've done so far! But, the Senate voted down bi-partisan amendments offered and passed the bill. Okay, President Obama. It's up to you. If you mean what you say, veto the bill.


By-partisan opposition is beginning. Congressman Paul Ryan (R) Wisconsin is attempting to bring back the presidential "line-by-line" veto and he has conservative democratic support. A "line-by-line" veto would allow the president to sign into effect portions of a bill he supports while sending back to congress line items he vetos. The vetoed line items then would be subjected to an up or down vote in congress. This maintains congressional control over the budget but allows the president to highlight the items he wants removed. Congressman Ryan believes the added visibility will act as a major deterrent to pork barrel spending. The line-by-line veto was first enacted in 1996 and later held to be unconstitutional in 1998. It will be interesting to see how far Congressman Ryan gets with this. But even more interesting will be how President Obama reacts to greater responsibility and transparency if the line-by-line veto is re-enacted.


So, are we entering an era of "technical dishonesty?" Is this the "new kind of ethics?" Is a coalition of conservative democrats and republicans beginning to take form? As President Obama continues to build his team and take action on his agenda, GiftWrappingAir.com will highlight the individuals chosen by the President to help him execute his executive agenda. How you feel about all of this is yours to decide. The overwhelming, direct spending made just within the first sixty days of President Obama's term is poised to bring fundamental change and will be difficult to reverse. Within the verticals of energy, healthcare, and education power will shift beyond expectation. Look closely. Ask yourself, "Is this the change I want?" Then contact your congressmen. You can do so by using the following links. They will help you locate and reach those who were elected to represent you. Stand up America... while you still can.


Contact: Representatives, Contact: Senators



Further Reading:

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