Monthly Archives: January 2010

But You DO have lobbyists in your administration, Mr. Obama!

Last night, Obama told a huge whopper about how he barred lobbyists active within the past few years  from serving in government. 

“To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.

“That’s what I came to Washington to do. That’s why — for the first time in history — my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.”

That’d be a nice fairytale-unfortunately, it’s a lie.  Check this out:

* Eric Holder, attorney general nominee, was registered to lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm [now confirmed].

* Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association.

* William Lynn, deputy defense secretary nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive.

* William Corr, deputy health and human services secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use.

* David Hayes, deputy interior secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric.

* Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs.

* Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone.

* Mona Sutphen, deputy White House chief of staff, was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003.
* Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director, lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

* Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.

* Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union.

So much for Obama’s pledge to bar former lobbyists from serving his administration.


A “State of the Union” address? More like a campaign stump speech

Last night’s State of the Union address by President Obama-if you can call it that-was an atrocious attempt at hitting the reset button after three consecutive losses in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.  The theme of the address seemed not to be the state of our union, but the state of Obama’s effort to remake the nation after the so-called “lost decade” (the Bush administration) he mentioned last night.  Obama showed his true colors in his remarks last night, and one year into his “post-partisan” presidency, it is revealed that the President is everything the warning signs told us he was-a radical ideologue determined to bring self-prescribed change to a nation that clearly disagrees with his vision for the country.

Obama started out by pointing out the obvious, which is to say that the state of the economy is not good.  He paid lip service to good economic policy, advocating an elimination of capital gains taxes for plant and equipment investments by businesses.  Then he began to lie.  Saying that the administration had “saved 2 million jobs and cut taxes for 8 million people” and is on track to create over a million more jobs by spring, he praised the $787 billion stimulus bill that even Obama said had lukewarm results at best as recently as last week.  This came after reports that unemployment had inched up in December.  Obama said the “lost decade” was one in which “as many jobs were lost as created.”  What he failed to mention is that most of those layoffs-4 million to be exact- have occurred since he took office a year ago.

When Obama’s falsified accomplishments in cutting taxes were not met with accolades from the Republicans, he went off-script and channeled forth his unfathomable arrogance, saying, “I thought I’d get some applause there.”  His tone in saying this, however, was not one of good fun, but one of brash partisanship and resentment for those that do not appreciate his efforts-he is after all, Barack Obama-an end in himself in this quest to rid society of its ills.

Obama pushed ahead with campaign-like empty platitudes encouraging Congress to “clean up the mess” left by the “previous administration,” pushing divisive cap-and-trade legislation, opposition to which cost long-serving Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.) his chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce committee, which went to the hyper-partisan global warming alarmist, Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.).  Obama hasn’t gotten the message that America is totally over the “blame Bush” game.

As if cap-and-trade legislation wasn’t enough to cause economic jitters, Obama, together with his party have a newfound populist fervor in their rhetoric, politicizing the Federal Reserve chairman and advocating economically backwards fees on the sum total of assets at the nations’ largest banks, which prompted a 552-point slide on Wall Street last week.  While everyone agrees that the bonuses being paid at Wall Street institutions while the country is still in recession are outrageous, taxing bank assets rather than fat cat bonuses is a fee that will only serve to hit banking customers, reduce lending capability, and prolong the recession.  This is not to say banks should not be held accountable for awarding outrageous bonuses-surtax on the tune of 40-50% would prove sensible, rather than a tax on bank assets. 

Obama seemed to focus on how many special-interest green tax credits the government could give away in order to spur job creation.  Instead of vowing to press ahead on unpopular health care legislation, a source of wariness about expanding business and adding jobs, according to a recent NY Times article interviewing small business owners, Obama would do well to cease the hyper-partisan economic warfare, calls for ever-increasing taxes, and the empty populist rhetoric, and ensure economic stability by ending calls for a return to easy credit, making the existing tax cuts permanent, and ending his quest to grow government at every opportunity.

No Hope for Dems to “Get it” after Massachusetts

One of the biggest political upsets in history occurred this week-Massachusetts elected a Republican to fill a Senate seat that for 58 years was held by America’s first royal family, the Kennedy’s.   Even the Kennedy’s hometown of Hyannis Port went for Republican Scott Brown, who, on New Year’s day was an obscure Massachusetts State Senator from Wrentham, a working-class  town southeast of Boston.

Brown’s upset over Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley, who ran a disastrous campaign that exuded a sense of hubris and entitlement that has contributed to the unraveling of Obama’s agenda, came after Drudge Report blew a seeming formality of an election into a referendum on the current way Washington is working.  Once again, the much-derided Fox News was number one in the ratings for election night coverage.  

The take-home lesson from the upset in Massachusetts is that a grassroots campaign of economic Conservatism wins elections.  Brown ran an economically focused campaign that focused on voter concerns of out-of-control spending, backdoor deals for a healthcare overhaul whose support polling is abysmal, and a general atmosphere of rigid and uncompromising ideology that seems to drive the administration.  GOP operatives would do well to dissect the Brown campaign and implement its strategy in races across the country.  Perhaps most shocking was Brown’s candidness about being the 41st vote against healthcare legislation in a state whose former Senator viewed health reform as the cause of his life. 

Despite Brown’s vocal opposition to health care, which, contrary to soaring campaign rhetoric that espoused transparency, has entailed much more backroom deal-making than a Chicago mayoral campaign, liberal commentators saw the surprise outcome in Massachusetts as an affirmation of support for Obama’s agenda, rather than a repudiation of overreaching by a Congress and White House that grossly misinterpreted the meaning of their victory in 2008.  In fact, Obama himself told ABC’s George Stephanopolous that what swept him into office is the same thing that swept Brown into office; not a dissatisfaction with the Democrats’ arm-twisting way of governance, but a dissatisfaction among Massachusetts voters with-you guessed it, George W. Bush.  Apparently Massachusetts forgot that Martha Coakley spent two months running a campaign effort that tied Brown to “Bush-Cheney Republicans.”

Dukakis campaign manager Susan Estrich spent Tuesday predicting dire results in November for the Democratic party if leaders took the election as an impetus to redouble efforts to ram a hyper-partisan agenda through Congress instead of viewing it as a call to move toward the center.  So far, it appears congressional leaders will not triangulate as a means to move forward on health care in a bipartisan fashion, but continue to ignore the writing on the wall by presenting a renewed sense of populist fever that, in the form of excessive regulation, will only continue the downward economic spiral we are in .

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