"Get thee glass eyes, and, like a scurvy politician, seem to see the things thou dost not." – William Shakespeare
America, when exactly did we come to tolerate politicians lying to us – bald-faced –about things that actually matter? When did we start to put up with being lied to by our elected officials and accepting it as the status quo? When did we come to accept that disingenuous political spin was just part of the process; that deceiving the electorate was tolerable...at any level? I ask because as I try to reconcile the "hope and change" propaganda with the actions of the Obama Administration, well, let's just say the campaign rhetoric appears to have been crafted by P.T. Barnum.
Examples of intellectual malfeasance exist on both sides of the aisle but it is dramatically more prevalent on the political Left and since the Progressives have hijacked the Democrat Party it has gotten worse. There doesn't seem to be a day that goes by where news comes out of Washington DC that is literally unbelievable.
When President Obama was running for office he promised unprecedented transparency. He maintained that not only would the American people be able to access information about every move his administration made via the Internet, he maintained that his administration would be a post-partisan administration and that he would value input and scrutiny from both sides of the aisle equally. In the realization of his presidency nothing could be further from the truth.
By now everyone has seen the compilation video of then presidential candidate Barack Obama testifying to the masses about how any and all negotiations regarding healthcare insurance reform was going to be televised on C-SPAN. The compilation video numbers his assertions at eight but because this was a premier plank in his campaign, one can rightfully assume that this promise was made at every campaign stop where the issue of healthcare insurance reform was addressed.
But the truth of the matter is that there was absolutely no transparency in the crafting of either the House or Senate healthcare insurance reform bills. In fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Progressive from California, refused input from any GOP House member and instead crafted her bill behind closed doors with the help of special interest groups like the SEIU. In the Senate, Harry Reid crafted legislation without any input from the GOP at all and behind closed doors with, again, special interest groups like the SEIU. Reid went further in his clandestine operations when he negotiated the bribery of several US Senators (Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson to name but two) with taxpayer monies in an effort to achieve the sixty votes needed to move the Senate bill forward.
Through it all Mr. Obama remained silent. Harry Reid, Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson tried to explain to a very anger American public that "...it's not different from other pieces of legislation...We work compromises. That's what legislation is all about, the art of compromise." And recently Nancy Pelosi, while mocking the promises made by Mr. Obama during the campaign, insisted, "...there has never been a more open process for any legislation in anyone who serves here's experience." Again, through it all, Mr. Obama remained silent. He never insisted that negotiations be televised and, in fact, he not only didn't object to the closed-door crafting of legislation, he held his own closed door meetings to strategize with Progressive Democrats on the tactics to be employed to achieve victory on the issue.
During the campaign, Mr. Obama promised not only an end to wasteful spending, but he said he would eliminate the earmark process and veto any piece of legislation that came across his desk that included earmarks. Enter the stimulus bill.
The stimulus bill, it can be successfully argued, was one giant earmark benefiting special interest groups. From a transit system linking Las Vegas to Disneyland to the funding of an effort to preserve the habitat for the San Francisco Salt Marsh Mouse, the "stimulus bill" did little to "stimulate" anything but the bank accounts of special interest groups. The proof of its absolute failure is in the current national unemployment numbers (10 percent as of November). This of course does not address the fact that almost two-thirds of the money allocated to this initiative is left unspent, slated for use in elections years 2010 and 2012...how convenient.
Further, when one examines the latest appropriations bill for military expenditures – and even the hotly contested healthcare insurance reform bill – there has been little "reform" applied to the practice of earmarks, let alone an "elimination" of the practice, as promised.
During the campaign, Mr. Obama insisted and, in fact, centered his campaign on the notion that he would be a "post-partisan president," meaning that the era of divisive party politics would be at an end. He promised repeatedly to listen to any suggestions and to include ideas from both sides of the aisle in the crafting of legislation.
One simply needs to examine how the stimulus and healthcare insurance reform bills were crafted – clandestine meetings, Democrat House leadership locking the GOP out of committee conference rooms, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the President himself holding non-public partisan meetings to craft strategy – to understand that not only does the status quo partisan political era remain, it has gotten worse to a caustic level.
The issue of ethics was a central talking point in the 2006 midterm elections. In fact, when Nancy Pelosi ascended to the House Speakership, she took an oath, promising to the American people, that she intended to, "...lead the most honest, most open and most ethical congress in history."
Today, in 2010:
▪ John Murtha (D-PA) still enjoys the confidence of Speaker Pelosi.
▪ William Jefferson (D-LA) was convicted and sentence to jail for taking bribes.
▪ Charles Rangel (D-NY) is the subject of an ethics investigation focusing on his fundraising practices for a college center in his name, his ownership financing of a resort property in the Dominican Republic and his financial disclosure reports.
Further, in addition to the House ethics issues:
▪ Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader from South Dakota, abandoned his bid to become health and human services secretary and the administration's point man on reforming health care because of tax issues and potential conflicts of interest related to working with health care interests.
▪ Nancy Killefer stepped down from a newly created position charged with eliminating inefficient government programs because of tax issues.
▪ Timothy Geithner was confirmed after revealing he had tax troubles.
▪ Obama's initial choice for commerce secretary, Bill Richardson, stepped aside due to a grand jury investigation into a state contract awarded to his political donors.
▪ And while the Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm William Lynn as deputy defense secretary, Obama had to waive his ethics regulations to place the former defense lobbyist in charge of day-to-day operations at the Pentagon.
And the list goes on.
Pelosi & The CIA
Nancy Pelosi was proven to be untruthful in her assertion that the Central Intelligence Agency didn't accurately brief her on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques used on terrorist detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military detention facility. Ms. Pelosi stuck to her story in defiance of overwhelming proof that she was, indeed, briefed on the use of these interrogation tactics. In the end, CIA Director Leon Panetta prevailed and Ms. Pelosi slinked away into the shadows, refusing to discuss the subject in public. The media soon grew bored of their truth vigil and the subject faded to black.
I have touched on but a very few issues that have found the Obama Administration and the Progressive Democrat leadership in Congress in a juxtaposed position to what they promised the American people. All of these examples – and again, this list just scratches the surface, coupled with the full range of offenses, could fill a book (one can refer to Michelle Malkin's book, Culture of Corruption, for a more in-depth look).
The point I am trying to make here is that if the 2010 midterm elections are about anything they should be about the restoration of honesty in government. That honesty has become a commodity in Washington DC is a shameful reflection on not only the political class but on those who repeatedly elect these ethically challenged political opportunists and elitist oligarchs to office.
America, isn't it time that we asked our Democrat and liberal friends (forget about the Progressives, they are too far gone) why they tolerate being lied to; how they can continue to support politicians who have been proven to have lied to the American people about some really important issues? Isn't it time we ask our liberal and Democrat friends why we – as a people – should accept dishonesty and untruthfulness from those we send to Washington to serve our best interests? Isn't it time that we ask our liberal and Democrat friends, "What kind of government are your party's politicians bequeathing to our children?"
Perhaps – just perhaps – we should be asking ourselves the exact same question. Maybe then we will be adequately motivated to demand good government over politics in Washington DC.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show airing on AM1220 WSRQ and on the Internet catering to the US Armed Forces around the world and on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the USA Radio Network. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at email@example.com.